Benchmarking Food Insecurity Knowledge and Attitudes amongst the Australian and UK Public

  • Russell-Bennett, R. (PI)
  • Gallegos, Danielle (CoI)
  • Wood, Matthew (CoI)
  • Smith, Geoff (CoI)
  • Perks, Keith (CoI)

    Project Details


    This was a collaborative project between researchers from the University of Brighton Business School, Queensland University of Technology and SecondBite (Food Security Charity).

    What and how we eat is important to our health and wellbeing; how food is grown and processed has an impact on the environment and the economy. Food security is defined as ‘the ability of individuals, households and communities to acquire food that is healthy, sustainable, affordable, appropriate and accessible’. This means the aim of food security is to enable people to afford a nutritious, healthy, appropriate and desirable diet.

    Food security depends on good supply and accessibility. In this study, we examined the situation in Australia and the UK. While Australia and the UK are the ninth and fifteenth most food secure countries in the world (Global Food Security Index, 2015), the UK ranks the lowest in Western Europe and over one million people were given three days’ emergency food supplies and support in 2014-15 (The Trussell Trust, 2015).

    In Australia, more than 1.2 million Australians (5.2 per cent of the population) indicated they had run out of food at least once in the past 12 months and been unable to afford to buy food (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009). Higher levels of food insecurity have been identified in sub-groups within the Australian population such as asylum seekers, aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, disadvantaged urban households and those who are unemployed and/or on benefits. There is a lack of data on the extent of food poverty amongst these groups and governments may have underestimated the scale of the problem (Allsopp, Sigona & Phillimore, 2014).

    We provide baseline/benchmarking data on public awareness and understanding of issues related to food insecurity in the UK and Australia. A marketing systems approach was used as the theoretical underpinning for a large-scale survey in both countries. The objectives of the project were to address the following research questions:

    > What does food insecurity mean to consumers?
    > Who is impacted by food insecurity?
    > What is the extent of food insecurity in households?
    > Are there geographical location differences in food insecurity between, for example, urban, metro and rural locations?
    > Do different age and/or socio-economic groups have alternative understandings of food insecurity?
    > What do people know about food production and waste in Australia and the UK?
    > What are the myths and misconceptions about food insecurity?

    The research aimed to explore the extent of food insecurity in Australia and the UK and build public awareness and understanding of food security issues. Stimulating a public debate in this way is a powerful tool which will help influence policymakers to make positive, sustainable changes.
    Effective start/end date30/04/151/12/18


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