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Latest FSA consumer survey tracks level of concern around the price of food at Christmas and New Year

New data in the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Consumer Insights Tracker shows people are concerned about the price of food this Christmas and New Year.

Last updated: 15 December 2022
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Participants were asked new questions for the latest wave of the tracker. The latest data from November 2022 shows: 

  • Seven in ten (69%) consumers reported taking at least one action to save money on food for Christmas 2022, including buying ‘yellow-sticker’ food items close to their use-by date (25%); buying less fresh food and more long-life foods instead (17%); buying less food than usual for Christmas (23%); and changing to cheaper brands (33%) 
  • Concerns about food shopping for Christmas and New Year have significantly increased (compared with the same period last year 12-16 November 2021): 
    • 81% reported concern about food prices (was 62% in November 2021) 
    • 55% reported concern about food availability (was 48% in November 2021) 
    • 50% reported concern about the quality of food (was 37% in November 2021) 
    • 41% reported concern about the safety of food (was 31% in November 2021) 
  • Specifically, in relation to Christmas and New Year, around half of consumers reported concerns about sustainability and the impact of food production on the environment (49%, November 2022) and the healthiness of food (47%, November 2022) 

Several measures related to food affordability and food insecurity which are tracked monthly have improved this wave compared to October 2022. In most cases, findings are similar to those reported in November 21 or the 12-month average.  

Along with publishing this evidence, the FSA is also reminding people how they can stay safe while making their food go further and saving money. 

Emily Miles, FSA Chief Executive, said: 

‘For many, Christmas and New Year is a time for getting together with family and friends and food is a large part of the celebrations. While our data shows some monthly measures relating to food affordability and food insecurity have improved in November 2022 compared to the previous month, it also shows that people are more concerned about food affordability this festive season than they were last year.

‘Our evidence shows that people are finding ways to save money where they can, including buying food closer to its use-by date, buying long-life foods and switching to cheaper brands.

'To make food go further, we’re encouraging people to follow our tips for keeping food safe, including keeping fridges on to prevent bacteria from multiplying. We also recommend freezing food on or before it’s use-by date if you’re not going to use it. We’ve got lots more advice on our website to help people use their judgement and make informed choices, while staying safe.'

 

Steps consumers can take to make food go further: 

  • If you’re buying a turkey, duck or goose in advance of Christmas day, check the packaging to make sure it’s suitable for home freezing
  • Keep your fridge on to help keep you well and make your food go further
  • Using your fridge at the correct temperature  (5 C or below) helps prevent food poisoning.  If food isn’t properly chilled it could go off faster and be unsafe to eat
  • A use-by date on food is about safety. This is the most important date to remember. You can eat food until and on the use-by date but not after. You can also freeze food with a use-by date right up to the end of the date on the label
  • Best Before is about quality. The food can be safe to eat after this date – but it might not be at its best
  • Set your freezer to -18°C. This temperature delays chemical reactions within foods and puts bacteria “on pause”, allowing us to keep food longer
  • Our home fact checker has more tips on how to help make food go further and stay safe

Consumer Insights Monthly Tracker 

This data is part of a series of statistics on consumer concerns relating to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The consumer insights tracker monitors trends on consumer behaviour and attitudes on a monthly basis and is published on our website.