A new study has found that High Wycombe in Bucks is the worst affected area for food insecurity across the UK. The research was carried out by the University of Sheffield Institute for Sustainable Food and used data from the Food Foundation which had surveyed people from across the UK.
The research estimates 14% of people in High Wycombe are hungry, and nearly 30% are struggling to access food. There are also a large number of people in High Wycombe who worry about having enough food to feed themselves and their families.
Food insecurity means the inability to consistently be able to afford, access, and utilise the food needed to ensure that good health and wellbeing is maintained.
The research data was broken down into three groups. These groups are:
- People who are hungry.
- People who are struggling to access food.
- People who worry about food insecurities.
So, what’s the difference?
People who are hungry are those who indicate that, in the previous month, they were hungry but are unable to eat because they cannot afford food or could not access food.
People who are struggling to access food include those who, in the last month, have had to cut back on meals and healthy foods in order to ensure they can manage their budgets, those who indicate that they are struggling to access food in some way, and those who have asked for help in the last month to be able to access food.
People who worry about food insecurities include those who are just about managing but could have food insecurities due to an unexpected cost such as needing to fix a car which has broken down, having to replace a washing machine, or buy school uniforms.
This data is taken from January 2021, at the height of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and when lockdown restrictions were in place. This shows the devastating impact that Covid-19 has had, and highlights many of the resulting facts including more people asking for food support, many of them for the first time.
The results of this research identified food insecurities at a local authority level, the first time this has been done. It has also been able to show that not everyone experiencing food insecurity and hunger does so on the same level. They are many, many people here in Bucks who plan to go without or shrink meals in order to be able to afford all that they need each month, and these choices can have a real impact on people’s health.