Too few people can afford to eat a healthy diet, a new report shining a light on Britain’s ‘broken food system’ has found.
The annual Broken Plate report, which was published by the Food Foundation on Monday, has found that healthier foods are much more expensive than foods laden with unhealthy levels of fat, sugar and salt.
Levels of childhood obesity continue to worsen in Scotland and England, with the inequalities between the most and least deprived children widening.
And the Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated food poverty and increased the burden of nutrition-related chronic diseases, the report found.
“Covid has exposed the devastating consequences of diet-related disease, showing that efforts to shift our food system in favour of healthy eating have been too little, too late,” said Anna Taylor, Executive Director of the Food Foundation.
“Covid-19 is also pushing more people into poverty,” she told the Telegraph. “That means that the price of food is going to become more important than ever, in terms of determining the extent to which people are able to secure healthy diets for themselves and their families.”
The Food Foundation report uses 10 metrics to provide a holistic picture of the UK’s food system.
Income, the accessibility of unhealthy food outlets and advertising spend on junk food were all listed as being among the top 10 influencers of dietary choices.
“Although much is often made of individual choice when it comes to food, governments and businesses continue to shape and edit our food environments, with our ‘choices’ often influenced by incomes, prices, promotions, advertising and what is easily available,” said Laura Sandys, chair of the Food Foundation.
“I believe the apparent freedom we have to choose between healthy and unhealthy food is a myth,” she added.