The Broken Plate 2023
The State of the Nation’s Food System
Our food environment: vital signs, its impact on our lives and what needs to change to support us all to eat healthily and sustainably
The Broken Plate 2023 Digital Summary
(Please note: this is not the full report. For the full report click here).
Price and Affordability
Affordability plays a major role in determining the food that people purchase. The ability to afford a healthy and sustainable diet is not only affected by food prices, but also by a family’s or individual’s income, and the costs of other essentials. For many people, a healthy and sustainable diet is simply out of reach financially; even for people on slightly higher incomes, it can be less appealing because it’s the more expensive option.
Affordability of a healthy diet
The most deprived fifth of the population would need to spend 50% of their disposable income on food to meet the cost of the Government recommended healthy diet. This compares to just 11% for the least deprived fifth.
"This report shows that a low-income family would have to spend 50% of their income on groceries to eat the Government’s recommended diet. That is clearly not feasible. To enable every child to fulfil their potential, we need to make a healthy diet affordable."
RT HON SIR STEPHEN TIMMS MP CHAIR, WORK AND PENSIONS SELECT COMMITTEE
Cost of Healthy Food
More healthy foods are over twice as expensive per calorie as less healthy foods.
"This year’s Broken Plate data confirms that rising costs, not reflected in benefits, are making the barest essentials unmanageable for the poorest in society. The data in Broken Plate speaks to a system that keeps already disadvantaged families from flourishing: hopefully the inclusion of a voice like mine can make this year’s report a vehicle for change."
DOMINIC WATTERS, FOOD FOUNDATION AMBASSADOR AND FOOD IS CARE FOUNDER
Cost of Sustainable Alternatives
More sustainable plant-based alternatives to chicken are approximately 27% more expensive than chicken breast.
"To better understand the risks and opportunities facing companies, we need access to good quality and comparable data. A key focus for us is therefore engaging with companies to understand their performance including our work with the Investor Coalition on Food Policy, calling on the UK Government to introduce mandatory reporting for food sector companies of health and sustainability metrics."
SOPHIE LAWERENCE, RATHBONE GREENBANK INVESTMENTS
Places to buy healthy foods
1 in 4 places to buy food are fast-food outlets.
Availability of low sugar options in key children's food categories
Only 7% of breakfast cereals and 8% of yogurts marketed to children are low in sugar.
"It is a complete fantasy to suppose that the huge problems of diet-related disease are going to be solved by voluntary measures. The commercial incentives for companies to produce food that makes us sick is overwhelming. As a bare minimum, the Government must make the Food and Drink Transparency Partnership (FTDP) a vehicle for more transparency and action around healthier food sales."
HENRY DIMBLEBY, AUTHOR OF THE NATIONAL FOOD STRATEGY INDEPENDENT REVIEW
Business transparency on sales of healthy and sustainable foods
Just 8 major UK food retailers, caterers and restaurant chains currently report publicly on sales of healthy foods, fruit and vegetables, or animal vs plant-based proteins.
What needs to happen? Increase transparency around the types of food businesses sell, with targets for boosting sales of healthy and sustainable foods.
"Health disclosures by the food and drink sector are an important driver of transparency, accountability and food systems change. By collecting and reporting on the healthiness of our sales, including the food group proportions in a typical basket, we have been able to identify our areas for action, track performance against our health targets and add ‘healthiness’ as a consideration within our commercial decisionmaking tools."
NILANI SRITHARAN, GROUP HEALTHY & SUSTAINABLE DIETS MANAGER, SAINSBURY'S
Marketing of Baby and Toddler Snacks
97% of snacks marketed towards babies and toddlers feature a nutritional or health claim on the front of the packaging despite often being high in sugar for this age group
What needs to happen? Regulate marketing and composition of toddler and baby foods, and restrict nutrition and health claims on the front of packaging.
"The marketing strategies used on these parents are highly effective, with buzzwords such as ‘all organic’, ‘natural sugars’ and ‘nutritionally approved’, which is disingenuous at best and dangerous at worst. The early years are a critical development stage for children, so the UK Government has a unique opportunity to address this."
DR CAMILLA KINGDON, RCPCH PRESIDENT
Advertising Spend on Food
A third (33%) of food and soft drink advertising spend goes towards confectionery, snacks, desserts and soft drinks compared to just 1% for fruit and vegetables.
What needs to happen? Increase advertising spend on healthy foods and decrease advertising spend on less healthy foods
Nutritious food consumption
The most deprived fifth of adults consume less fruit and veg (37% less), oily fish (54% less) and dietary fibre (17% less) than the least deprived fifth.
Reading this year’s Broken Plate it’s clear that opportunities for interventions that would bring lasting benefits for public and private health and the quality of people’s are being missed. The Food Foundation once again makes the case that improving our food system is a fundamental building block for the country’s future wellbeing.
TIM GARDAM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE NUFFIELD FOUNDATION
Ultra-processed foods consumption
56% of calories consumed by older children and adults are from ultra-processed foods.
Children's Dental Decay
Almost a quarter (24%) of 5-year-olds have dental decay, with 2.5 times as many children in the most deprived fifth affected compared with the least deprived fifth.
Children in the most deprived tenth of the population are on average up to 1.3cm shorter than children in the least deprived tenth by age 10–11.
Children in the most deprived fifth of the population are over twice as likely to be living with obesity as those in the least deprived fifth by their first year of school
Healthy life expectancy
Healthy life expectancy in the most deprived tenth of the population is 19 years lower for women and 18 years lower for men than in the least deprived tenth.
"The stark 19-year difference in healthy life expectancy between women in the most and least deprived deciles shows that not everyone in the UK has the necessary building blocks for a healthy life – an adequate income to provide for themselves and their families; housing that is affordable and secure; neighbourhoods that support active lifestyles with the right amenities and services."
JO BIBBY, DIRECTOR OF HEALTH AT THE HEALTH FOUNDATION
Nearly 9,600 diabetes-related amputations are carried out on average per year – an increase of 19% in six years.
"Few people want to be overweight or obese, and no one wants to lose a limb. But we cannot hold people personally responsible for their diet if we do not create realistic choices, a healthy environment, a positive culture and a supply chain to match."
LORD JAMES BETHELL, CONSERVATIVE PEER IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS