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10 million Brits live in “food deserts”

A quarter of survey respondents claim that healthy and nutritious food in the UK is too expensive, while 10 million people live in “food deserts”, according to a report by London-based think tank the Social Market Foundation. The report examined three barriers to healthy eating: prices, affordability (relative to income) and access to food stores.

17% of the respondents find food to be a strain on their finances, 23% said they had bought cheaper and less healthy food in response to high food prices, and 10% said they had eaten less so that others in their family, such as children, could eat more.

The report defines “food deserts” as areas poorly served by food stores, where people without a car may find it hard to “easily access a wide range of healthy, affordable food products”. The figure below shows areas classed a food deserts in red and food oases (with better access to food) in green.

Image: Figure 9 of report “What are the barriers to eating healthily in the UK?”

Read the full report, “What are the barriers to eating healthily in the UK?”, here. See also the Foodsource building block What is food security?

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