Skip to content

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. 

Related pages

Safefood Logo

Sign up for our family focused healthy eating and food safety news.

Safefood logo

The site content is redirecting to the NI version.