Food insecurity, food waste, food behaviours and cooking confidence of UK citizens at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown

Armstrong, Beth, Reynolds, Christian, Martins, Carla Adriano, Frankowska, Angelina, Levy, Renata Bertazzi, Rauber, Fernanda, Osei-Kwasi, Hibbah A., Vega, Marcelo, Cediel, Gustavo, Schmidt, Ximena, Kluczkovski, Alana, Akparibo, Robert, Auma, Carolyn L., Defeyter, Greta, Tereza da Silva, Jacqueline and Bridge, Gemma (2021) Food insecurity, food waste, food behaviours and cooking confidence of UK citizens at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. British Food Journal, 123 (9). pp. 2959-2978. ISSN 0007-070X

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Purpose: The current pilot study explored food insecurity, food waste, food related behaviours and cooking confidence of UK consumers following the COVID-19 lockdown. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected from 473 UK-based consumers (63% female) in March 2020. A cross-sectional online survey measured variables including food insecurity prevalence, self-reported food waste, food management behaviours, confidence and frequency of use of a range of cooking methods, type of food eaten (ultra-processed, semi-finished, unprocessed) and packaging type foods are purchased in. Findings: 39% of participants have experienced some food insecurity in the last 12 months. Being younger, having a greater BMI and living in a smaller household were associated with food insecurity. Green leaves, carrots, potatoes and sliced bread are the most wasted of purchased foods. Polenta, green leaves and white rice are the most wasted cooked foods. Food secure participants reported wasting a smaller percentage of purchased and cooked foods compared to food insecure participants. Overall, participants were most confident about boiling, microwaving and stir-frying and least confident with using a pressure cooker or sous vide. Food secure participants were more confident with boiling, stir-frying, grilling and roasting than insecure food participants. Practical implications: This has implications for post lockdown policy, including food policies and guidance for public-facing communications. Originality/value: We identified novel differences in self-report food waste behaviours and cooking confidence between the food secure and insecure consumers and observed demographics associated with food insecurity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This work was funded by STFC Food Network+ pilot funding (ST/P003079/1), and STFC 21st Century challenge funding (ST/T001410/1) “Piloting Zooniverse for food, health and sustainability citizen science”. Christian Reynolds was supported by the HEFCE Catalyst‐funded N8 AgriFood Resilience Programme and matched funding from the N8 group of Universities. Additional funding was provided by Research England via the project “Food based citizen science in the UK as a policy tool”. Ximena Schmidt was supported through Brunel University London internal Research England GCRF QR Fund.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Food waste, COVID-19, Food insecurity, Cooking confidence, UK
Subjects: B400 Nutrition
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2021 12:44
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2021 15:30

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