Tackling the Cost of Food Crisis
The Food Foundation hosted an event in Parliament highlighting the impact of rising food costs
The Food Foundation partnered with Which? to host a reception at the House of Commons to share the latest data on the cost of living crisis, real-life stories and solutions to the challenges millions of people face in accessing affordable, nutritious food.
Parliamentarians, retailers, NGOs, civil servants, academics and citizens attended the event, where we showcased our new film highlighting the plight of families struggling to feed their children as a result of rising food prices.
Podcast: Analysis from the event
In this clip (below) from The Food Foundation's short film 'They Know We Are Here' we hear from Dr Ewan Hamnett, a GP who has been working in Birmingham for nearly 30 years. Dr Hamnett highlights the fact that unhealthy food is cheaper than healthy food, meaning those with limited income have no choice but to eat diets which will damage their health in the long term, leading to significantly increased costs for the NHS.
Highlights from the event
More than 60 people packed into the House of Commons for a reception about the cost of living crisis we hosted in partnership with Which?
It was sponsored by Paulette Hamilton, Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington; and Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney and drew an audience of parliamentarians, retailers, NGOs, civil servants, academics and citizens.
More than 60 people were in the room
The Food Foundation and Which? shared the latest data on the cost of living crisis, real-life stories and solutions to the challenges millions of people face in accessing affordable, nutritious food.
A number of retailers are doing fantastic work in this area, but there’s more that needs to be done, and the government has a critical role to play too in tackling the cost of living crisis.
BBC Radio 4 Food Programme host Sheila Dillon opened the event, highlighting that food insecurity has doubled in the last year, with 10 million adults experiencing food insecurity and one in four households, including four million children affected.
Conservative MP Peter Aldous spoke at the event
Following welcomes from Paulette Hamilton MP, Peter Aldous MP and Which?’s Head of Consumer Rights, Protections and Food Policy Sue Davies; The Food Foundation’s Executive Director Anna Taylor argued supermarkets and the Government can and should do more to support access to affordable, nutritious food, especially for low-income households.
With food price inflation at 19.1% massively outstripping general inflation (at 10.1%) and a basket of basic goods increasing in price by 25% over the last year, it’s no surprise that food insecurity rates have risen significantly.
If you’re on a low income, Anna said, it’s much harder to eat in a way that protects your health, particularly in the UK food environment: calorie for calorie, healthier foods are nearly three times as expensive as less healthy food.
Food Foundation Executive Director Anna Taylor
Eating a nutritious diet becomes even harder if you have inadequate food preparation amenities or are laser-focused on ensuring that no food is thrown in the bin because you simply cannot afford to waste it.
That’s why The Food Foundation is calling on supermarkets to do more in this space, and implement our Kids Food Guarantee.
The seven-minute film screened at the event - entitled 'They Know We Are Here' - featured a mother from Meriden in Solihull, who shared how soaring food prices have impacted her children.
Our Food Ambassador Kathleen Kerridge
Also contributing was Dr Ewan Hamnett, a GP who has been working in Birmingham for nearly 30 years. He wants the Government to tackle the fact that unhealthy food is cheaper than healthy food, meaning those with limited income have no choice but to eat diets which will damage their health in the long term, leading to significantly increased costs for the NHS.
Food Foundation Food Ambassador Kathleen Kerridge spoke after the film, noting that it was difficult for her to watch on a number of levels given the similarities it bore to her own experiences of food insecurity.
She talked about the fact a diet of refined carbohydrates was for years the only affordable option for her, but that the damage it did to her health precipitated a heart attack.
Saffron, 18, spoke about child poverty
She compared the current price of a head of broccoli in Lidl (89p) to the cost of a kilo of pasta (70p), and asked the audience to consider whether the vegetable was an affordable option for a parent feeding two children on a food budget of £2 a day.
Kathleen’s daughter Saffron then reflected on how food insecurity experienced as a child can negatively impact how you view food as you grow up, noting the panic associated with not having access to enough food and the relationship you develop with cheap, unhealthy options make it hard to develop healthy eating habits even when you have your own source of income as a young adult.
This is why, Saffron said, we need children to be eating well earlier on in life, so they have the opportunity to develop a healthier relationship with a nutritionally adequate diet.
With this in mind, in the coming months the Food Foundation will be calling on retailers to follow the roadmap of actions laid out in the Kids Food Guarantee to ensure children can eat well during the cost of living crisis and prevent lasting damage to their health and wellbeing.