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Hilary Benn and the hidden dissuaders

Hilary BennEnvironment secretary Hilary Benn’s recent fulmination against the Bogof and discounted supermarket lines – in the course of announcing a new government food security strategy – spells trouble ahead for the marketing industry.

What matters is less the specifics of his proposals than the tone in which they are delivered. Benn is saying that certain time-honoured elements of the marketer’s toolbox are no longer acceptable, because they promote an attitude of profligacy among consumers. Indeed, in a broader sense, he comes close to condemning the consumer society itself. It’s clear that a war on waste, and the ministers to it – brand-owners, supermarkets and agencies – is going to prove an attractive option for government policy strategists of the future, as food grows more expensive and the need to conserve it ever more pressing.

For more on this, see my column in the magazine.

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