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Cost of living

New figures show shocking scale of food insecurity

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JRF responds to the latest findings from the Food Standards Agency’s Consumer Insights tracker.

Key findings from the FSA Consumer Insights tracker include:

  • The proportion of consumers who could not afford to eat a healthy balanced diet has significantly increased (36% in October 22 vs. 33% in September 22).
  • The proportion of consumers using cheaper cooking methods (e.g.: using a microwave, air fryer or slow cooker) instead of an oven to heat or cook food has significantly increased since the previous wave (67% in October 22 vs. 59% in September 22).
  • A third (33%) of participants reported that they have eaten food past its use-by date because they could not afford to buy more food, a quarter (24%) reported eating cold food this month because they could not afford to cook hot food, whilst a fifth (18%) reported that in the last month they have turned off a fridge/freezer that contains food to reduce their energy bills and save money.

Iain Porter, Senior Policy Adviser at JRF, says:

“It is simply not right that people across the country are eating food past its use-by date, turning off their fridges and freezers and eating cold food: all because they can’t afford to cook and store fresh food. It is doubly concerning that more and more people cannot afford to eat a healthy balanced diet.

“The Government must ensure that people’s incomes are adequate so that they can afford to buy and prepare food along with other essentials. When the Government sets out its plans on Thursday, benefits must at least be uprated in line with inflation as usual, as was promised when Rishi Sunak was Chancellor. As well as upholding that pledge the uprating should be brought forward rather than expecting people to struggle on until April before their income reaches anything approaching the soaring cost of food.”

Leftovers from breakfast on a plate.

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