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FSA 22-06-09 Household Food Insecurity

FSA 22-06-09 Household Food Insecurity: Annex A (table of suggested possible interventions)

A detailed table of the work the FSA proposes and the work that we have considered but do not propose to undertake in relation to household food insecurity and food affordability.

Last updated: 7 June 2022

A full PDF version is available for download: 

Evidence Generator

Current Activity 

a) measured and published biannual official statistics on Household Food Insecurity from Food and You 2 (ongoing), allowing us to analyse the data by ethnicity, socio-demographic group, region, and disability​

b) monthly tracking of consumer concerns around affordability, with quarterly publishing (ongoing)​

c) completed “The UK Public’s interests, needs and concerns around food” research, understanding priorities for UK consumers in UK food.​

d) published a report on attitudes to the food system in a pandemic (2021), which traced changing attitudes to food provision.​

e) tracking conversations around food poverty on social media (ongoing)​

f) economists are actively tracking food prices to understand increases over time​

g) completed research on Community Food Providers, understanding what support community providers might need in relation to food safety.​

Suggested expanded activity within capacity and within remit

a) synthesis and interpretation of currently available data, generating more products, for example, academic articles, thought pieces, from existing data, including our own, for example, Food and You 2​

b) systematic review of Household Food Insecurity in the UK (check with FSS) identifying existing evidence gaps​

c) host a workshop with others in the research community, assessing and filling gaps and sharing research plans ​

d) mapping of Household Food Insecurity at LA level (overlaid with for example, food desserts, types of food businesses, food banks, Indices of Multiple Deprivation, FHRS etc - to inform LA / local response) ​

e) explore NHS datasets to assess the impacts of household food insecurity on food borne disease, as well as nutrition and health, depending on access to data.​

f) actively report on food prices, joining up our reporting to produce a dashboard with OGD partners​

g) explore how we develop our risk analysis and impact assessment capabilities to look at impact on consumers in the round: consistently including criteria such as; social equity, impact on household food insecurity (as well as healthy/sustainable consumer choices, food waste, animal welfare and trade.)

Further activity beyond current capacity 

a) commission new primary research on additional questions, such as the lived experience of those in household food insecurity, the hidden costs of food, or the trade-offs that consumers make in practice against health and sustainability. 

Activities outside FSA remit

a) use the data to advocate publicly for specific policies (except where we have policy lead for example, food safety). Use the data in political discussion. 

Convenor and Collaborator

Current activity 

a) engagement with NGOs, and OGDs on consumer concerns and household food insecurity​

b) data sharing with OGDs to aid understanding of Food Insecurity landscape, (for example, DHSC, ONS, DWP, NFS, Defra).​

c) proactive X–Whitehall outreach to ensure joint approach to the issue.​

d) organise and host seminar in Q3 of 2022 to convene senior leaders from across the food system, to encourage an informed discussion of food insecurity mitigations for consumers. ​

e) engage with community food providers and retailers to develop best practice guidance on food donations. 

Suggested expanded activity within capacity and within remit

a) collaborate with NGO partners in hosting events, convening senior policy leaders to broaden reach of our data and inform proactive policy solutions to food insecurity.​

b) engage with aggregators through ABC Programme to understand possible community-based action.

Further activity beyond current capacity 

a) work with NGOs and partners on the implementation of ideas/policy solutions generated through our convening role, if these would require substantial resource​

b) do new work with NGOs and partners to more actively promote food safety messages for looking after food in the home.

Activities outside FSA remit

a) convene on questions of how to mitigate poverty, rather than how to manage the food impacts and risks for consumers.

Policy maker

Current activity

a) provide advice on common household food safety questions, including UBD/BBE advice amongst other key food safety in the home advice​

b) share website links to WRAP for further consumer information.​

c) increase promotion of guidance on use by/best before dates (as well as freezing) guidance, and review whether our guidance, and the format of our guidance, is user-friendly and appropriate for a range of audiences, so we are a service​.

Suggested expanded activity within capacity and within remit

a) accelerate anticipatory regulation preparation to aid food affordability options in the future

Further activity beyond current capacity 

​a) consider stronger advice on the need for BBD on some products. We can support WRAP with their influence in this space.​

b) consider whether certain products could be fast tracked in regulation to support reduced food prices. 

Activities outside FSA remit

a) devise policies to address the wider issue of  poverty (which would sit with DWP supported by Defra, though we might contribute by providing evidence​

b) review whether current legislation relating to food disproportionately / unnecessarily increasing cost of food, as most of this is Defra’s remit. Only food safety and hygiene policy is under FSA’s remit, which has a minimal impact on food prices.

Regulator

Current activity

a) current guidelines are in place for compliance for FBO’s working with charities. (for example, Fare share, Trussell Trust)​

b) provide information on community food provision and how to access it.​

c) communications campaign to ensure new food businesses are aware of the need to register (inc food banks)​

d) review guidance to FBOs and LAs on community food provision and revise if appropriate.​

Suggested expanded activity within capacity and within remit

​a) provide accessible and usable products containing advice for private sector food donors to maximise the impact of food donations - especially around labelling/allergens/traceability.

Further activity beyond current capacity 

a) review regulation and guidance in other specific areas, ahead of the work already underway in the two transformation programmes to make regulation more targeted and proportionate. ​

Activities outside FSA remit

a) regulating food prices, as opposed to food standards

Watchdog

Current activity

a) we will report on Food Affordability in our Annual Report.

Suggested expanded activity within capacity and within remit

a) work with other actors and provide data to aid this activity, for example, Which. ​

b) offer public value judgment on implication of food insecurity for people’s short-term health – for example, greater risk around food safety.​

Further activity beyond current capacity 

a) monitor impact of further changes (for example, future HFSS regulations, or steps taken by government to mitigate food price rises) to understand whether retailers/suppliers pass any costs on to consumer.

Activities outside of FSA remit

a) offer value judgment on the likely effectiveness of policy responses from Government and others in mitigating food insecurity or protecting long term health or sustainability.​