These extremely varied experiences have led to important questions for the future of food. As part of Renew Normal: The People’s Commission on Life After Covid-19, we have worked with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to better understand the answers to these questions. This report focuses on people’s experiences with food during the pandemic – across multiple lockdowns – and the public’s preferences for the future of the food system.
The report’s findings include:
- There has been an increase in multiple forms of food insecurity including physical availability and financial access.
- Four in ten (40%) people have helped others by shopping for food for someone who was self-isolating.
- There is strong public support for a child’s right to healthy food
- The public think the Government should continue to provide the additional support it offered during the pandemic – 59% support children getting free school meals during the holiday after the pandemic
- There has been a complex shift in people’s diets during Covid-19, with more home cooking, more healthy meals, but also more unhealthy snacking. Those who have cooked more or eaten healthier main meals tend to expect this change to continue.
- The public are broadly in favour of government intervention to encourage healthy eating – particularly after the pandemic – with 71% thinking the government should be doing a “great deal” or a “fair amount” to encourage people to eat more healthily.
- 78% of people support the UK keeping its current food quality standards, even if food is more expensive and less competitive in the global market.