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Food insecurity

Food insecurity

1 in 6 experiencing food insecurity in Northern Ireland

One in six people in Northern Ireland reported being food insecure, having low or very low food security in a consumer survey. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Northern Ireland carried out a survey to explore knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours around food. Data was collected between 2020 and 2021 providing an insight into attitudes and behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Findings include: 

  • Food insecurity levels in Northern Ireland were comparable to that in England and in Wales. 
  • When asked about confidence in the food supply chain, respondents were more likely to report confidence in farmers, shops and supermarkets than in takeaways, and food delivery services.
  • The main concerns around food related to the amount of sugar and fat in food, and food waste.
  • Price was one of the most important factors when choosing food to buy. This was followed by freshness, quality, health, taste or appearance, use-by dates and origin of food.

Food insecurity is a growing issue.  Recently published safefood research found that low-income households in Ireland need to spend between 13% and 35% of their take-home income to buy a healthy minimum essential food basket. Similar research carried out in Northern Ireland showed households need to spend between 24% and 46% of their take-home income to buy a healthy minimum essential food basket. 

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