UK’s first ‘Food Insecurity Market’ sells groceries at developing world prices

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Hardeep Singh Kohli and the British Red Cross host the UK’s first Food Insecurity Market at Spitalfields, London.

Shoppers at Spitalfields market were shocked recently when food prices soared from between 500–800 per cent as part of a British Red Cross campaign highlighting the cost of living in developing countries.

‘Food insecurity’ is the term used to describe the issues behind lack of food or poor nutrition, which includes high food prices that fluctuate, making it impossible for families to know if - and what – they can afford to eat.

The Food Insecurity Market was held at London’s Spitalfields market and hosted by TV broadcaster and chef Hardeep Singh Kohli.

Mr Singh Kohli said: “Food prices have gone up in the UK, but it would be a real shock for someone in this country to get to the supermarket and find a loaf of bread suddenly costs £10. For someone living in a food-insecure country, these kinds of prices are a reality.”

Although food insecurity causes more deaths than AIDS, malaria and TB each year, a recent survey of 2,000 UK adults by the British Red Cross revealed that a third of us have not heard of it.

“Food insecurity causes hunger and malnutrition, the biggest threat to the world’s health today. It causes millions of deaths each year, but so many of us don’t know enough about it,” said David Peppiatt, British Red Cross head of international.

“Our Food Insecurity Market gives the public a rare, first-hand experience of what 925 million* people around the world have to deal with every day. It’s a complicated issue, to do with high food prices and the many things that affect food availability such as conflict, drought, floods and other pressures. The result is that in some countries families are forced to spend 50 to 80 per cent of their income on food if they are to live.”

The survey revealed that nine out of ten Brits said they would find it difficult to maintain their lifestyles if faced with such dramatic rises in the price of food.

58 per cent said it would be “very difficult” to live with food insecurity. When asked what changes they would consider making to cope, suggestions ranged from “cutting off broadband internet” and “not eating out”, to the more drastic option selling of homes and possessions to raise money for food.

55% agreed that providing longer term help to support livelihoods in developing countries would be an effective way to help prevent famine.

If Britons spent 50-80% of their income on food, here are some examples of how much staple supermarket items would cost:

  • Loaf of bread – UK price 90p; food insecure price £4.50 - £7.20
  • Tin of baked beans – UK price 70p; food insecure price £3.50 - £5.60
  • Pint of milk – UK price 50p; food insecure price £2.50 - £4

More info
Visit www.youtube.com/BritishRedCross to download footage of the Food Insecurity Market.

Red Cross - Seeds of Change campaign
www.redcross.org.uk/seedsofchange

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