FIRST EVIDENCE HEARING: MONEY AND AFFORDABILITY
11am, Wednesday 19th November in Portcullis House, Westminster.
Witnesses: Professor Liz Dowler (University of Warwick), Dr Clive Black (Shore Capital), Martin O’Connell (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
The first strand looked at the price and affordability of food from the consumer perspective. This takes in to account both food prices and the ability to pay. Within this the Commission will look at the rise of emergency food provision in the context of squeezed living standards, and at food prices and the myth of cheap food.
Prof Liz Dowler gave an overview of the rise of ‘food poverty’ in the UK and the different aspects of it, addressing different definitions of food poverty and the links between income and diet. The evidence highlighted particular problems that households in poverty face that are sometimes obscured by averages.
Dr Clive Black gave an overview of current food price trends, as well as the historical context. This included the change of consumer behaviour across different income groups and how the food industry has responded.
Martin O’Connell gave evidence on how households adjusted food spending over the recession. This included details of how households were switching to cheaper food in order to maintain calorie levels.