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A recipe for inequality: Why our food system is leaving low-income households behind

Evidence from the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty shows how those on lower incomes are now spending a greater proportion of their budget on food.


The Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty has gathered evidence on how the UK’s food system serves those on low incomes, and to what extent it contributes to poverty in the UK. This interim report shows clearly that those on the lowest incomes are the ones losing out from our food system.

Food price rises have disproportionately hit low-income households since 2013 and now those on lower incomes spend a greater proportion of their budget – between 16 per cent and 35 per cent – on food. Combined with increases in housing and energy costs, those on the lowest incomes are moving closer to crisis.

And while the proliferation of supermarkets and the rise of the discount retailers like Aldi and Lidl has held food prices down for consumers, it has come at the cost of huge pressure on the food supply chain. Low pay and zero hour contracts are rife in the food workforce and the search for ever-cheaper ingredients led to the 2013 horsemeat scandal.

The commission will present its final report later this year and make recommendations on what politicians can do to fix Britain’s unequal and unsustainable food system.

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Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty

Chaired by Geoff Tansey, the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty brings together experts, as well as those experiencing poverty, to look at the roles of government, civil society and the food industry in increasing the availability and accessibility of sustainable, nutritious food.

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