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The Mayor of London The London Assembly

The first food security estimates for London

Back in October 2018, we wrote about the GLA’s plans to measure food security in London for the first time, through a series of questions included in the Survey of Londoners. The Survey has now concluded and the first results have been published on the London Datastore.

With regard to food security the picture is concerning. Around one in five (21 per cent) of adults in London have low or very low food security, equivalent to 1.5 million adults.

Food insecurity affects around 1.5 million adults in London

Having low food security or being food insecure means that, at times, a person’s food intake is reduced and their eating patterns are disrupted because of a lack of money and other resources for obtaining food.

In addition to measuring adults’ food security status, the Survey also captured the experiences of children in London. The picture is equally grim with around one in six (17 per cent) parents in London having children living in low or very low food security. This equates to around 400,000 children.

To measure food insecurity we used the USDA’s Household Food Security Module, which provides both measures of adult food security and children’s food security. The six-item short form of the food security survey module was adapted for use in the Survey, as well as the full eight-item measure for children.

Although we have provided the headline measures of food security, we have yet to explore in detail the underlying behaviours which make up the measures of food insecurity in London. These behaviours include running out of money to buy food, cutting the size of meals or skipping them, and not being able to afford balanced meals, among others. Each behaviour is of interest on its own and so further analysis will be undertaken to explore the different facets of food insecurity in London and who is affected by them.