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.
- 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.