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The Food Programme


Investigating every aspect of the food we eat

Investigating every aspect of the food we eat


London, United Kingdom




Investigating every aspect of the food we eat




The Food Programme: Is it harder to make it in the food industry if you’re black?

Jaega Wise meets three people speaking out about inequality in the food world.


Is it harder to make it in the food industry if you’re black?

The Black Farmer thinks we’re at another #MeToo moment in world history following the death of George Floyd and the protests and discussions about racism it has sparked. For presenter Jaega Wise, it’s the first time in her life she has experienced race being talked about so frankly across society. She talks to three people who have been at the forefront of the conversation: Melissa Thompson who runs the food and recipe project Foulmouths, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones who runs the brand The Black...


Rethink: The Food Dimension.

As part of the BBC's Rethink series Dan Saladino asks how we can create a better food future for all in a post-Covid world. Among a cast of experts and activists offering their visions of the future are Microbiome expert and geneticist Professor Tim Spector focuses on diet, nutrition and the lessons learnt during the pandemic. Community cook Dee Woods addresses concerns over poverty and how disadvantaged communities can get better access to food. Produced by Dan Saladino.


Why The Corner Shop Has Come Into Its Own

Remember March? Before the UK lockdown. Remember desolate supermarket shelves? Toilet rolls, eggs, flour nowhere to be found? Where did you turn? Chances are you may have hit the jackpot in your local corner shop. Sales in corner shops and independent grocers were up by 63 per cent in the three months to May according to industry analysts Kantar. For many small grocery shops, business has never been better. But as Sheila Dillon finds out, that's gone hand in hand with exceptionally long...


Seed Stories from the Lockdown

Dan Saladino meets some of the people who turned to seeds and grew food in the lockdown. As well as supermarket panic buying, seed sellers also saw huge spikes in sales. Seed producer David Price describes how, as lockdown approached, orders from customers increased by around 600 per cent. The impact Covid-19 has on food supplies explains some of this. Many farmers who supplied restaurants had to quickly start growing different types of food which they could sell into markets that hadn’t...


How food on film is the secret ingredient to storytelling

Leyla Kazim meets Bend it like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, OBE to hear how she uses food to bring her films to life and hears from Nathalie Morris of the British Film Institute about how breakfasts and arguments over butter tell the story in Phantom Thread. With all this food on screen, inevitably we’re left wanting to eat it. Leyla discovers the people painstakingly recreating recipes like writers Olivia Potts and Kate Young with their TV dinners and the YouTube phenomenon Binging...


Why Eat Wild Meat?

Dan Saladino looks at the legal and illegal global trade in wild meat. After links have been made between the Covid-19 pandemic and wild animal populations, there have been calls for a complete ban on the hunting, trade and consumption of wild animals. As Dan explains, this would be a mistake and could even lead to greater risks to human health and livelihoods. Most food cultures still feature wild animals, from deer, rabbit and game birds in northern Europe, to cane rats, porcupine and...


Last Orders: Does coronavirus spell boom or bust for Britain’s drinks sector?

Alcoholic drinks are not just big business in Britain - they are an essentially social business. Whether it's hitting your local with colleagues after work, raising a reception toast to newly-weds or selecting a favourite bottle to accompany dinner at a special restaurant, those traditional opportunities to buy and sell alcohol have been all but wiped out under lockdown. As Jaega Wise discovers, pubs, bars, restaurants and the drinks producers who supply them have been some of the hardest...


Joe Wicks: A Life Through Food, through lockdown

When Joe Wicks, the personal trainer, started making Instagram videos in his kitchen in 2014, he couldn't have imagined he'd become author of the second biggest selling UK cookbook of all time. He built a social media brand with millions of followers, nay disciples, on Instagram and YouTube who came for the quick healthy recipes and online fitness workouts. And then, just as he was about to embark on a tour of UK primary schools, the Coronavirus pandemic swept the world and the UK. We were...


The Kitchen Front: How wartime food strategies influenced our eating ethos

Making do, digging for victory, the hedgerow harvest, the garden front: food and farming was front and centre during the Second World War, with hearty phrases like these encouraging the population to pull together and do their bit for the national diet. Now, 75 years after Victory in Europe was declared, we’re hearing similar language in political speeches and across the media, as we “wage war” against coronavirus, in a country under lockdown. The rhetoric might be extreme – but as Sheila...


Sheffield: A story of a city through its food

Leyla Kazim finds the independent spirit of Sheffield’s self-employed ‘little mesters’, who once combined to power the city’s steel industry, is now being channelled into new models for how food and drink can shape the future of cities. To guide her through the city’s story, artist Pete McKee and musician Richard Hawley tell Leyla what food was like in Sheffield when they were growing up, what’s changed and how a bottle of table sauce called Henderson’s Relish has become iconic. She has pie,...


Bonus Podcast: More from Sheffield's Pete McKee and Richard Hawley

Hear an extended version of the interview with artist Pete McKee and musician Richard Hawley from the programme Sheffield: A Story of a City Through It's Food. Picture: Meat 'N' Tater by Pete McKee


Covid-19: The Food Waste Dimension.

Dan Saladino investigates how the coronavirus crisis has not only resulted in vast amounts of food being wasted but also saved and redirected to feed people in need. The global food system has been exposed to levels of disruption not seen since World War II. According to Andre Laperriere, of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) Covid-19 has led to levels of food waste in developed economies increasing from around 30 per cent to 40 per cent of everything that's produced,...


Love In The Time Of Corona: Stories of community support through food

Every day, with the UK on 'lock-down' as part of government measures to halt the spread of Covid-19, we're hearing inspirational tales of community groups and volunteer services springing up to help others - very often, through food. Over the course of this programme, Sheila Dillon and Dan Saladino - chatting remotely from their respective lock-down locations - hear from just a small selection of the incredible community efforts going on across the country, supporting the most vulnerable...


Takeaway transformed: Inside the food delivery revolution

Stepping into a 'dark kitchen', Sheila Dillon explores why takeaway apps are changing food culture and explores how delivery is offering a lifeline under lockdown and diversifying to help people in need. She hears stories from restaurants turning to delivery to stay in business and the people dropping groceries at people's doors and getting food to those who don't have a home. Presenter: Sheila Dillon Producer: Tom Bonnett



In a special programme - recorded online from self-isolation - Sheila Dillon explores the new art of cooking in lockdown. As we all get used to spending more time at home, what better opportunity for an expedition into our kitchen cupboards? What lurks at the back behind the mountains of stockpiled pasta and tinned tomatoes? And how to feel confident using only the absolute basics - from a tin of beans to a bag of flour. Sheila masters Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp to join some of our favourite...


Eating After Cancer: Can rebuilding relationships with food help cancer patients with their recovery?

One of the unexpected side-effects of dealing with cancer can be how it impacts relationships with food and eating. The various treatments can take away both appetite, and the ability to eat and enjoy food - which has a knock-on effect on the patient's health, social life and wider wellbeing... Sheila Dillon knows this better than most: eight years ago, she was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called multiple myeloma, and has experienced firsthand what it's like to lose the ability to...


Coronavirus and Food: Your Questions Answered

As the government updates its plans for coronavirus, Dan Saladino answers your food questions.


Covid-19: The Food Dimension.

Dan Saladino tracks the origins and impact of coronavirus within the global food supply chain. Where are pressures being felt and who's making decisions about feeding Britain? The spead of Covid-19 around the world isn't just proving to be a challenge for public health and economies, it is also proving to be one of the biggest tests faced by the global food system. With around fifty per cent of the UK's food supplies coming from overseas and our dependence on a complex and interconnected...


Is the Pasty Really Cornish?

In the week that Cornish people celebrated their Patron Saint St Piran, Dr Polly Russell & Sheila Dillon ask why the pasty remains an emblem of Cornishness for people around the world. There would have been a time when pasties were eaten all over the UK, but the PGI protected Cornish pasty has persevered in Cornwall. Today the Cornish Pasty Association estimate that on it's own, production of Cornish pasties is worth around 20 per cent of the value of the county's food and drink industry. In...