Tonight: Food Facts and Fiction - Part 1: Where Does Our Food Come From?

man serves meat at barbecue
Jonathan Maitland investigates the origins of the food that ends up on our plates in the UK on the Tonight programme Photo: ITV / Tonight

The first of a special four-part Tonight series on food, looking at the food we eat, where it comes from and the impact that it’s having on our health. In tonight’s episode, on ITV at 7.30pm, Jonathan Maitland investigates the origin of our food.

65% of consumers in a Tonight survey said they wanted food labels to always give the origin of ingredients. But Tonight discovers that many manufacturers still don’t clearly label the origin of meat in processed products. To examine labeling laws and test public perception, Jonathan Maitland enlists the help of experts to create a traditional British lamb hotpot, which isn’t all it may seem...

2 men hold up a ready meal
Jonnny's classic British hotpot... Credit: ITV / Tonight

To learn more about the British meat industry Tonight visits award-winning pig and poultry farms. The pig industry has almost halved in the past 15 years since higher welfare laws increased the cost of pig production in the UK. Further investment and better contracts are called for, to increase our supply of British pork.

With 90% of our fruit and almost half of our vegetables imported each year, a trip to the supermarket is like a trip around the world. To discover where some of it comes from Tonight travels to Spain to get exclusive access to one of the world’s largest high tech greenhouse complexes, where many vegetables & salad items are grown for hungry British consumers.

But back in the UK an increasing number of people are reconnecting with the land. Community Supported Agriculture schemes are springing up across the country and at The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm in Suffolk there isn’t a complicated supply chain in sight. For a bit of hard graft and £7.50 per week, members get a box of vegetables which they helped to grow themselves.

So should we all be doing more to make Britain more self-sufficient? And is it time to simplify our food system and change the way we eat if we are to have a more sustainable future?

For more information please visit:

Glenis Willmott MEP’s call for country of origin food labelling

Information on EU food labelling regulations

The National Federation of Women’s Institute’s campaign for mandatory Country of Origin Labelling for all meat products

The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm

Community Supported Agriculture information from the Soil Association

National Pig Association pledge for responsibly sourced pork