Food insecurity levels have increased according to FSA survey

Food insecurity levels have increased according to FSA survey

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has released the results of its latest Food and You 2 survey, which has found that levels of food insecurity were reported by 25% of respondents.

The survey, which was conducted between October 2022 and January 2023, reported an increase in food insecurity from 16% when the first wave of the survey was conducted between July and October 2020.

Food security is defined by the FSA as “all consumers always have access to enough food for a healthy and active lifestyle”. This was measured by asking a series of questions regarding the respondents’ ability to afford food over the previous 12 months. This was done using either an online or a posted questionnaire, meaning the answers were self-reported. Respondents were also asked about changes they had made to their eating habits, and the reasoning behind these changes.

Of the 5,991 adults (aged 16 or over) surveyed, 65% of them were concerned about food prices, 62% were concerned about food waste, 61% worried about the quality of their food and 56% were wary of the amount of packaging their food came in.

When asked, 80% of respondents said that in the last 12 months they had made changes to their diet for financial reasons. Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, 75% were classified as food secure while the remaining 25% were classified as food insecure.

Key findings of the Food and You 2 survey

A number of respondents were asked about their eating habits surrounding meat, with 89% stating they never eat chicken or turkey when it is pink or has pink juices; 40% stating that they wash their chicken at least occasionally; and 76% reporting that they always cook food until it is steaming hot and cooked all the way through. When handling raw meat, poultry or fish, 91% of respondents stated that they always wash their hands immediately after handling it.

Common changes to diets were:

  • Eating out less (46%)
  • Buying items on special offer more often (42%)
  • Preparing food that could be kept as leftovers (29%)

Top concerns for respondents included:

  • Food prices (65%)
  • Food waste (62%)
  • Quality of food (62%)
  • Amount of packaging (56%)

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