Community: Do you know the price of food insecurity?

People living in the South East of England would consider growing their own vegetables or even selling their house if faced with a dramatic rise in food prices, new research showed.

The research, undertaken by the British Red Cross, asked the public how they would cope if they were forced to spend between 50 and 80 per cent of their income on food – the amount spent by people in many developing countries.

Nearly 90 per cent said they would find it difficult to maintain their lifestyles, with 52 per cent per cent saying it would be “very difficult”.

Currently most people in the UK spend around 11 per cent of their income on food.

The British Red Cross has launched a campaign, Seeds of Change, to highlight the issue of food insecurity of communities around the globe.

Food insecurity is the term used to describe situations when people are not able to get enough food to eat, due to issues such as food price rises, conflict, natural disasters and land rights.

The charity has produced an animated video narrated by comedian Stephen K Amos to explain the issue, and encourage funding of longer term projects. There are also materials for schools, and in London the charity has staged a ‘food insecurity market’, where prices for food will rocketed between 500 and 800 per cent to mirror the prices paid in food insecure countries.

“Food insecurity causes hunger and malnutrition, the biggest threat to the world’s health today. It causes millions of deaths each year – more than AIDS, malaria and TB combined,” said David Peppiatt, British Red Cross head of international.

“Our food insecurity market today will give the public a rare first hand experience of what an increasing number of people around the world are facing.”

If Brits spent 50-80 per cent 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

Bunch of bananas – UK price £1; food insecure price £5 - £8

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

Packet of sausages – UK price £1.69; food insecure price £8.45 - £13.52