People in the UK worry that convenience eating could
cause them to lose a connection with the food they
eat, suggests research we have published today.
Participants in the
study were concerned that the growing trends of
convenience foods, online grocery shopping, and 'eating
on the go' could decrease the social and cultural
importance of sharing meals. They worry about a loss
of connection with where our food comes from, and
with each other, as we cook and eat together less as
families and communities.
This is one of a number
of findings from a public dialogue commissioned by
the FSA to explore 'Our Food Future', a study to
help understand how changes to the food system might
impact on consumers in the UK. It aims to bring the
consumer voice into the debate about the future of
the food system and collect important evidence to
inform future policy, working in partnership with
other policy makers, industry, and retailers.
A summit is being held
as part of Our Food Future, bringing together 200
leading experts to discuss what the impact of
changes to the global food system could be and what
we all can do to get the best outcome for people in
the UK. The event is being broadcast live.
Steve Wearne, Director
of Policy at the Food Standards Agency, said: 'The
food supply chain is increasingly complex and
already under pressure from a growing world
population. It's the FSA's role to understand how
this affects the interests of consumers and engage
with people about how the food system should be
shaped for the future.
'We've said in our
strategy that we are committed to open policy making
and we are keen to invite input from everyone with a
stake in the food system, including from those who
buy and eat food. We want to identify and solve
problems to deliver the best food future for us all.
Our policies in this area, and those of others, are
still being shaped and Our Food Future will have a
crucial input into that.'
Other key findings from
the research show that increased clarity on food
labels has been widely welcomed by consumers, with
many hoping the food industry will provide more
information on a wider range of food issues, that
consumers are concerned that access to healthy and
nutritious food could become a luxury as pricing
prompts people to buy cheaper, processed food and
that participants hope that Government and
regulators will play a more visible role in the
future of food, to ensure that their interests are
protected in a more complex world.
The research was
commissioned by the FSA, Food Standards Scotland,
and Sciencewise and carried out by social research
agency TNS BMRB. It comprised several parts - an
online quantitative survey of 1,383 UK participants,
an online qualitative forum with 22 participants,
and a deliberative public dialogue in London,
Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast, with each
participant engaging in two workshops in their
nearest location. Participants considered several
future scenarios and expressed their hopes, fears
and aspirations for the future of food.
For more information
Our Food Future