A review of new UN data by the Food Foundation and Oxford University has led to calls for the government to better manage data around food levels.
The analysis of the figures shows that the number of people who are food insecure in the UK goes far beyond those using charitable food assistance such as food banks.
The Food Foundation says that the new data raises important questions for the government such as why is access to food not currently being regularly measured?
Successive governments have failed to track this problem since it was last measured ten years ago among low-income households between 2003 and 2005. Regular measurement of food insecurity with a big enough sample to identify those at greatest risk could be achieved at a marginal cost of around than £50,000 to £70,000 per year, by adding between ten and 15 questions to existing annual national surveys.
UK must think policy mix
The review suggests that the UK needs to learn from other countries on the policy mix which can prevent food insecurity and monitor the effectiveness of existing policies; a policy mix which covers housing costs, planning, welfare benefits, school food, public health and the relative cost of healthy food.
Laura Sandys, chair of the Food Foundation said: “This new data provides a great opportunity for the Government to get on the front foot on food policy and establish a policy mix which can deliver a better food system for those on the lowest income. As with all important challenges, there is no silver bullet. Tackling the fundamental problems of our food system will be difficult but is essential for a healthier and more secure future for all UK families.”
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