18 July 2023
Food Prices Tracker: July 2023
Food Prices in the Cost of Living Crisis and the Impact on Food Insecurity Levels
This month's blog looks at the trends in food prices based on Government and Food Foundation data, and presents new findings from The Food Foundation's most recent survey measuring food insecurity levels. We have conducted nationally representative surveys since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to monitor levels of food insecurity and track the scale of the problem. The findings from the thirteenth survey, conducted in June 2023, found that 17% of households experienced food insecurity last month. They also demonstrate that children and benefit recipients are continuing to be disproportionately impacted by food insecurity, highlighting the need for urgent Government and business action to ensure everyone can access and afford a healthy diet, particularly during the cost of living crisis.
The Food Foundation are calling on Government to act urgently to expand Free School Meals and to increase the value and uptake of the Healthy Start Scheme to help children from low-income families access nutritious food (see below for further information).
Benefit levels were uprated in April by 10.1% (the value of inflation in September 2022). While the increase seems to have stabilised food insecurity levels, the rapid rise of inflation since September has meant it has been insufficient to significantly improve food insecurity levels.
The Food Foundation are calling on Government to tackle these disproportionately high levels of food insecurity among benefit recipients by reassessing the way benefits are calculated to ensure the value is based on the cost of a healthy diet and other basic essentials.
The Food Foundation are calling on retailers to implement our Kids Food Guarantee to ensure that the essentials are affordable and no one is priced out of a healthy diet (see below for further information).
These data illustrate that families are continuing to struggle with food insecurity amid food prices remaining high. Such high levels of food insecurity should not become normalised or accepted as the new status quo. Government nutritional safety net schemes including Free School Meals and Healthy Start have huge potential to help protect children from the damaging effects of food insecurity and with urgently need improvements could make a real difference to our most vulnerable children.
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Shona joined The Food Foundation as a Project Officer in 2019 and has worked on research, policy and advocacy across a range of projects over that time including leading our food insecurity surveys and flagship annual Broken Plate reports. She now works across the charity's policy portfolio including our children's food campaigns, food insecurity and food environments. She is a Registered Associate Nutritionist with a background in clinical nutrition who worked in dietetic departments in NHS hospitals before joining The Food Foundation.
Josh joined The Food Foundation in 2023 as part of the Rank Foundation’s Time to Shine scheme. He completed a BA in Film Studies before continuing to study an MA in Culture and Critical Theory. Before moving to The Food Foundation Josh worked in a variety of roles in a primary school setting, utilising his experience to support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the school community. Josh is interested in the impact that food systems and environments have on people's lives and is driven by a desire to ensure people have better access to a healthy and nutritious diet.
Indu joined The Food Foundation in 2019 as part of the Rank Foundation’s Time to Shine scheme, moving into a Project Officer role in 2020. She works on the Peas Please and Plating up Progress projects. Prior to joining The Food Foundation, Indu completed a MSc in Public Health and a BSc in Human Nutrition. She is interested in reducing health inequalities, children’s health and wellbeing, and sustainable and nutritious food system/diets. Indu is also a lover of veg, having recently taken up urban gardening.