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The broken plate: the state of the UK’s food system

This report from the UK think tank, the Food Foundation identifies ten statistics that illustrate the effect that the UK’s food system has on health, and makes recommendations aimed at ensuring that healthy diets are accessible to all.

The ten statistics are:

  1. 46% of food and drink advertising goes on confectionary, sweet and savoury snacks and soft drinks, while only 2.5% goes on fruit and vegetables.
  2. One in four places to buy food in England are fast food outlets, based on the Ordnance Survey’s Points of Interest dataset.
  3. The poorest 10% of UK households would need to spend 74% of their disposable income on food to meet the Eatwell Guide costs. This is compared to only 6% in the richest 10%. This conclusion is based on household income data from the Family Resources Survey and previous research showing the daily cost of following the Eatwell Guide to be around £5.99 per adult per day.
  4. 17.6% of employees of the food industry earn the minimum wage, compared to 7% of workers across the UK.
  5. Unhealthy foods are three times cheaper than healthy food. Foods were classified as healthy or unhealthy using a nutrient profiling model developed by the Food Standards Agency (see here).
  6. Half of breakfast cereals marketed to children are high in sugar and for these cereals a single portion would make up a third of a child’s daily sugar allowance.
  7. Only 14% of ready meals are meatless.
  8. The prevalence of obesity among children aged five is 2.2 times greater amongst the most deprived communities than among the least deprived.
  9. Children in deprived communities are on average more than 1 cm shorter than children in wealthy communities by the time they reach age 11.
  10. In the last eight years the number of diabetes-related amputations has risen by 25%.

Read the full report, The Broken Plate – ten vital signs revealing the health of our food system, its impact on our lives and the remedies we must pursue, here. See also the Foodsource resource chapter What can be done to shift eating patterns in healthier, more sustainable directions?

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