UNITED KINGDOM: The University of Sheffield in a new study has underscored the rising levels of food crisis in the U.K.
Researchers modelled data from the Food Foundation, which used a survey to identify which local authorities are most affected by hunger in the U.K.
The study from the foundation and the University of Sheffield found the worst hit by food insecurity is Wycombe, Buckinghamshire with an estimate of 14% people suffering from hunger and nearly 30% of people struggling to access food.
This is narrowly followed by Hull in Yorkshire with 13% of people facing hunger and more than one in five adults struggling to access food.
According to data, most areas of Yorkshire and the Humber lie in the top 20 percentile with the greatest percentages of adults going hungry, while, in the east of England, the majority of authorities are in the 20% that have the lowest levels of hunger.
The area with the least hunger or struggle is St. Albans.
The problem of food insecurity has been highlighted due to the recent rise in reporting on food bank usage in the U.K. In November 2020 The Trussell Trust reported a 47% increase in support needed during the pandemic.
Dr Megan Blake from the University of Sheffield Institute for Sustainable Food, who contributed to the study said: “While no one should have to go hungry, struggle to get or worry about having enough food, in some places, it is at proportions that are especially shocking, particularly as we are a wealthy country.”
On the edge of food
This new analysis of the data shows how not everyone living with food insecurity experiences hunger on the same level, pointing out that a large number of people deliberately plan to go without food to make ends meet.
For some people, living on the edge of food insecurity may come from an unexpected event such as a car breakdown or an unexpected illness that led them to squeeze food budgets.
Such behaviour can be linked to higher rates of illness and obesity due to people buying cheaper foods, which store longer and are more filling, but can be unhealthy.
Anna Taylor, Executive Director, Food Foundation said: “COVID-19 has pushed households across the UK further into hardship and forced a newly vulnerable segment of society to seek help for the first time.”