Fifers struggling to access affordable food among worst in Scotland
Researchers from the University of Leeds and the consumer champion Which? have created an index ranking areas on how likely people are to need support to access affordable and healthy food - and it makes for grim reading in the Kingdom.
In Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, 31 of 133 neighbourhoods were flagged, in North East Fife, it was 23 from 106 neighbourhoods,while in Dunfermline and West Fife, 30 of the constituency's 134 neighbourhoods were ranked in the worst 20% where people are most likely to struggle to access affordable food.
The index combined factors such as the number of households on low income, proximity to large supermarkets, the number of children on free school meals, and the availability of online deliveries, to assess which areas were the most in need of access to healthy, reasonably-priced food.
Which? has now launched an "affordable food for all" campaign.
It calls on supermarkets to commit to clear and transparent pricing, access to affordable food ranges across all of their stores, and to prioritise price reductions over multi-buy promotions.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the price of food and non-alcoholic drinks rose by 16.2% in the 12 months to October – which it estimates to be the highest rate since 1980.
Sue Davies, head of food policy at Which?, said: “Supermarkets have the ability to take action and make a real difference to communities. That’s why we’re calling on them to ensure everyone has easy access to budget food ranges that enable healthy choices, can easily compare the price of products to get the best value and that promotions are targeted at supporting people most in need,” she added.
Michelle Morris, associate professor at the University of Leeds, said: “We need to do all that we can to support those most in need to access affordable, healthy and sustainable foods."