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  • Food in a Pandemic

    Created: 06/04/2021

    This report by the Food Standards Agency explores people’s experiences of Covid-19 to better understand how a new food environment created during the pandemic has impacted the public’s behaviours and preferences. The report published its findings on the public’s experience during the pandemic in three key areas: food insecurity, UK food supply and diet and healthy eating.

    Key findings from the report:

    • Young people are much more likely than older people to have more negative psychological relationships with food, seeing it as a form of stress relief, and associating it with a struggle to eat healthily.
    • People in receipt of benefits or with children on free school meals are far more likely to see food as an “annoying necessity".
    • 69% of respondents support children getting free school meals during the holiday throughout the pandemic and 59% support children getting free school meals during the holiday after the pandemic.
    • The Food Foundation estimates 14% of households - 4 million people, including 2.3 million children - had experienced moderate or severe food insecurity in the 6 months following the start of the March 2020 lockdown, compared to 11.5% before the pandemic.
    • There has been increased community activity and engagement in response to food insecurity.  The most common form of support has been food shopping for those self-isolating. 
    • There has been a complex shift in people’s diets during Covid-19, with more home cooking, more healthy meals, but also more unhealthy snacking.


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