Children's Future Food Inquiry





**The Inquiry evidence portal is open for ONE MORE MONTH and will close at the end of November. The Inquiry is looking to hear from anyone  children, young people or adults  who has experienced or witnessed children’s food insecurity in any form. If you know children who struggle to access enough food or nutritious diets, share your story with the Inquiry portal. We need your help to make a difference.**

An estimated 4.1 million children are living in poverty in the UK but we know little about how many of these children experience food insecurity, how it impacts on their lives and what could be done about it.  The Trussell Trust reports giving out food parcels to more than 500,000 people in 2014/15 of which half are estimated to be for children. Before the introduction of universal infant free school meals, 1.7 million children were eligible for free school meals on the basis of their family income – fewer than those living in poverty but many more than those receiving food parcels.  The only national measure of food insecurity reported by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates 8.4 million people are living in food insecure households in the UK.  UNICEF’s analysis of this same data estimates 10% of British children are living in severely food insecure households, but this survey is based on a relatively small sample.

Evidence suggests that even where parents protect their children from having to cut back on food, the indirect effects are likely to be profound.  The cheapest foods are often the least healthy and the nutritional quality of diets varies substantially between rich and poor in Britain.  The evidence suggests that child food insecurity exists, and potentially affects millions of children but that the nature, extent and effects of child food insecurity are poorly understood. The problem has received scant political attention and children’s voices are absent. There is an urgent need for an Inquiry to address this.

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This Parliamentary Inquiry into Children’s Future Food has the support of a cross party group of 14 parliamentarians and two All Party Parliamentary Groups.  It also has the support of the Children’s Commissioners in all four UK nations.  This support reflects the growing concern across the UK of the impacts of poverty on the diets, health, development and wellbeing of children.  Until now the experiences and perspectives of children and young people (aged 18 and under) have been largely absent from policy thinking and political discourse about food and poverty.  The Inquiry will address this critical gap.

Inquiry committee members (listed below) will attend witness hearings and review the evidence gathered during the Inquiry and oversee the development of the final report.

The Food Foundation, working closely with a group of independent experts and Leeds Beckett University will coordinate the delivery of the Inquiry, working in partnership with four children’s organisations:  Fixers, Children in Scotland, Children in Wales and Children in Northern Ireland.  The Inquiry will be implemented over a fourteen-month period and will involve in-depth consultation with more than 300 children across the UK and involve reviewing submissions from a further 100 children and adults.  It will include four evidence hearings, and a national poll to gather representative data on children’s experiences.  It will include an academic literature review (led by the National Institute of Health Research) and policy review.  It will lead to a report with no more than 6 recommendations and an intense period of advocacy and communications to ensure the recommendations are implemented.

The Inquiry ‘evidence portal’ invites anyone who’s witnessed or experienced children’s food poverty in any way at all to share their stories, and is open for submissions for one more month until the end of November. The Inquiry is trying to build a comprehensive picture of what children’s food poverty looks like in the UK, and as such needs to hear from as many people as possible about what they’ve seen and experienced. The entries can be written accounts, photographs, video clips or data, and it should only take 10-15 minutes to complete the submission process.

If English isn’t your first language and you would like the portal questions asked in another language, please contact us directly: 

If you might be able to help spread the word about the Inquiry and encourage submissions to the portal, click here for outreach resources (including template emails, information in English and Welsh, images, logos and social media content). 

The Inquiry will build a national consensus on what needs to be done to prevent children’s food insecurity and to ensure their food is both nourishing and sets them up for a healthy and productive future.

In September, the Food Foundation published new analysis, the ‘Affordability of the UK’s Eatwell Guide’, which finds that 3.7 million children in the UK live in households for whom a healthy diet is increasingly unaffordable. The press release, infographics and Guardian coverage are available here, and the full paper is also available to read.

On December 11th 2018, the Inquiry will hold ‘Food for Thought’ in Westminster; a unique event at which the committee will hear directly from young people about their lived experience of food insecurity. This will be followed by the evidence hearings in each of the four UK nations in January.




Sharon Hodgson MP (Chair) Lord David Watts
Philippa Whitford MP (Chair) Bishop Paul Butler
Roberta Blackman-Woods MP Lord Roy Kennedy
Heidi Allen MP Matthew Reed CEO, Children’s Society
Steve Double MP Prof. Russell Viner President, Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health
Frank Field MP Pauline Leeson CEO, Children in Northern Ireland
Ian Lucas MP Bruce Adamson Children & Young People’s Commissioner, Scotland
Layla Moran MP Mike Penrose CEO, UNICEF UK
Jim Shannon MP Alison Garnham CEO, Child Poverty Action Group
Kerry McCarthy MP Tara Whitehorn Department for Education (observer)
Ruth Smeeth MP
Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP
Edward Davey MP


Project Funding

We are very grateful to the following sponsors who are making this inquiry possible.  If you would like to see your logo below, please email

Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland

The Welsh Local Government Association

The Tudor Trust

Trust for London

Inquiry Meetings



Meeting notes and slides will be uploaded below after each meeting.  If you require any further information on any of the meetings we hold please email

If you would like to ensure you are invited to future meetings, please complete the form below to be added to our mailing list.

Meeting Type Meeting Date Location Meeting Notes Slides
Committee Meeting 12th March 2018 House of Commons Notes Notes
Stakeholder Meeting (Scot.) 22nd March 2018 CYPCS Offices, Edinburgh Notes Slides
Stakeholder Meeting (England) 9th May 2018 The Children’s Society Notes Slides
Stakeholder Meeting (NI) 6th June 2018 Children in Northern Ireland Notes Slides
Stakeholder Meeting (Wales) 14th June 2018 Children in Wales Notes Slides
Committee Meeting 16th July 2018 House of Commons Notes Slides
Food for Thought Listening Event 17th January 2019 House of Lords
Evidence Hearing: England 17th January 2019 House of Lords
Evidence Hearing: Wales 21st January 2019 Senedd
Evidence Hearing: NI 22nd January 2019 Parliament Buildings
Evidence Hearing: Scotland 31st January 2019 Scottish Parliament



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