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Hungry for change: the cost of living crisis

Hungry for change: the cost of living crisis

The impact of the cost of living crisis on food poverty and initiatives to support those experiencing food poverty. 

Date: Tuesday 20 September 2022 

Time: 9.00am to 1.00pm 

Venue: W5, 2 Queens Quay, Belfast, BT3 9QQ. Directions here (Opens Google Maps in a new window). 

Event overview 

The cost of living crisis is a key public health issue across the island of Ireland. As the cost of living continues to rise, it is expected that the numbers experiencing food poverty will increase. Food is often the ‘flexible’ element in the household budget.  

This workshop will explore the impact of the cost of living crisis on food poverty and what initiatives are taking place to support those experiencing food poverty. 


09.00 am - 10.00 am 
Registration with tea & coffee 

10.00 am – 10.10 am 
Welcome address 
Speaker: Minister Deirdre Hargey, Minister for Communities in Northern Ireland

Unfortunately, due to technical issues on the day of the event, we do not have the beginning of the Minister Deirdre Hargey’s opening speech recorded. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

10.10 am – 10.35 am 
The Rising Cost of Living and Food Poverty in Ireland 
Speaker: Bertrand Maître, Economic and Social Research Institute 

10.35 am – 11.00 am 
What we know about food insecurity and the impact it's having on consumers 
Speaker: Ayla Ibrahimi Jarchlo and Sophie Watson, Food Standards Agency 

11.00 am – 11.20 am 

11.20 am – 11.25 am 
Nutritional Guidance for food parcels in Northern Ireland 
Speaker: Laura Taylor, Public Health Agency 

11.25 am – 11.30 am 
Nutritional Guidance for food parcels in Ireland 
Speaker: Joana Caldeira Fernandes da Silva, safefood 

11.30 am – 11.55 am 
Social Supermarkets – Promoting alternative models to addressing food poverty 
Speaker: James Elliott, Department for Communities 

11.55 am – 12.20 pm 
Food Ladders: A framework for moving beyond emergency food support 
Speaker: Dr Megan Blake, University of Sheffield  

12.20pm – 12.50pm 
Q&A session 

12.50 pm - 1.00 pm 
Closing remarks 
Speaker: Minister Joe O'Brien T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities

1.00 pm - 1.30 pm 
Lunch & networking 

For more information about this event

E-mail: [email protected]
Call: (NI) 0800 085 1683  (ROI) 0818 404567 


Bertrand Maître, Economic and Social Research Institute  

Bertrand Maître is a senior research officer at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin. His main research interest focus on multidimensional approaches to poverty, social exclusion and quality of life. He is particularly interested in the development and the use of instruments comprising not only indirect but also direct measures of deprivation, ranging from durable goods to participation in social life, through to housing and environmental conditions. 

Ayla Ibrahimi Jarchlo, Food Standards Agency 

Ayla is a Social Science Research Officer at the Food Standards Agency where she primarily leads the Agency’s flagship survey with consumers, Food and You 2. This Official Statistic survey is a core piece of research conducted biannually with adults across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The findings provide insight on consumers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to food, covering a range of topics, for example hypersensitivities, food safety, food security, sustainability, food concerns and trust in the food system. Prior to working at the FSA, Ayla worked across a range of market research agencies, leading quantitative and qualitative consumer research for clients across a variety of sectors, including healthcare, transport, brand, TV and media. She is passionate about wrestling meaning from data and unpicking attitudes, perceptions and behaviours to inform better policy and decision making. Ayla studied Politics and International Relations at Durham University.  

Sophie Watson, Food Standards Agency 

Sophie is a Senior Social Science Research Officer at the Food Standards Agency. She works primarily in consumer research through leading and supporting research projects under the Wider Consumer Interests FSA research programme. The work delivered under this programme aims to amplify the consumer voice in food policy in the FSA and across Government as a regulator who is guided by consumers. One of the most recent research projects Sophie has delivered and published under this programme has been critical in broadening the scope of the FSA’s evidence gathering to include wider interests of consumers and help join up UK food policy. Sophie has worked in collaboration with research and academic partners to identify the UK public’s interests, needs and concerns around food. The research has helped to inform the FSA strategy for 2022-2025, and has received national media coverage highlighting the concerns around food affordability in the UK. Prior to working at the FSA, Sophie worked for market research agencies delivering both quantitative and qualitative consumer research for clients across a range of industries, including food and drink, retail, healthcare, travel, technology and finance. She has also worked in the sensory and consumer science division at a major food snacks company. Sophie studied Psychology at University of Birmingham (BSc) and Applied Human Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University (MSc). 

Laura Taylor, Public Health Agency 

Laura Taylor is a Registered Public Health Nutritionist and has worked for the Public Health Agency in the Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement team for the past 13 years.  During this time Laura has been involved with a number of nutrition and obesity projects including; HENRY – Early Years Childhood Obesity Prevention programme, Food in Schools, adult weight management and the development of nutrition resources and publications.  

Laura takes pride in helping to shape and influence services to meet the needs of the NI population and to help support those who suffer the greatest inequalities in health.  Outside work, Laura has two boys aged 11 and 8. She enjoys everything outdoors from climbing mountains to sea swims and shares her love and knowledge of food and nutrition at school events and social activities like scouts.  

Joana Caldeira Fernandes da Silva, safefood 

Joana da Silva (BSc, MSc, RD) graduated with a first-class honours in Dietetics and completed a MSc in Ethics in Healthcare at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The focus of her research was on “The ethical implications of Artificial Nutrition and Hydration in Palliative Care”. Before joining safefood in 2015, Joana practiced as a dietitian in both Portuguese and Irish hospitals. Joana is a CORU registered Dietitian, a member of the INDI and a member of the Northern Ireland BDA Branch.  

James Elliott, Department for Communities 

James has worked in the Department for Communities for 16 years in various roles working alongside the voluntary and community sector. He has been involved in the Department’s work on Social Supermarkets since a pilot programme was launched in 2017 and is currently Head of the Access to Food team which was set up during the Covid pandemic to lead on the Department’s emergency food response. The team’s focus has now returned to Social Supermarkets as a longer-term intervention with work underway to roll the model out across Northern Ireland. 

Dr Megan Blake, University of Sheffield  

An expert in household food security and local community reliance in economically wealthy contexts, Dr. Blake is a geographer with more than 20 years of experience conducting research with households, community organisations, charities, business, local and national government, and foundations and trusts to generate stakeholder informed research. She draws on participatory methodologies alongside standard qualitative and quantitative social science approaches. Dr. Blake’s research has made a significant and fundamental change in communities across and beyond the UK, forming an impact case study submitted to the REF 2021. Her Food Ladders framework is now being adopted by Local Authorities across the UK and internationally, third sector organisations, government departments, and industry to structure and evaluate their efforts to address food insecurity and its effects at the local scale.  


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