Over the last 10 years the number of children in the UK living with food poverty has increased, alongside a rise in childhood obesity. With Marcus Rashford’s school dinners campaign, there is increasing momentum towards tackling childhood food poverty, which is part of a wider issue in the UK of household food insecurity. Our research aims to mitigate food poverty as well as address inequalities across the food system by supporting policy action at local, national and international levels.

Our Impacts and Outputs

“The reality is that on Universal Credit I cannot provide the recommended amount of fresh fruit and vegetables per day for my children”: Moving from a behavioural to a systemic understanding of food practices

This paper is part of the N8 AgriFood Collection for Emerald Open Research, written by Dr Madeleine Power, Dr Katie J. Pybus, Prof Kate E. Pickett and Prof Bob Doherty, University of York

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Breakfast tables at school

Measures of low food variety and poor dietary quality in a cross-sectional study of London school children

This European Journal of Clinical Nutrition article has contributions from Dr Charlotte Evans, Dr Jayne Hutchinson, Neil Hancock and Prof Janet Cade from the University of Leeds.

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Healthy food and junk food

Obese and hungry: two faces of a nation

This British Medical Journal article written by Dr J Bernadette Moore and Dr Charlotte Evans from the University of Leeds, explores how inequality is a leading contributor to both obesity and hunger.

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Healthy food parcels in bags

Hungry for change: Fixing the failures in food report

N8 AgriFood academics from the Universities of Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and York provided their expertise for this report from the House of Lords Select Committee on Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment.

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Child looking hungry

Tackling childhood food poverty in the UK

The N8 AgriFood Food Systems Policy Hub, in collaboration with Policy Leeds, published a Policy Brief calling for action from national government and local authorities to reduce reliance on emergency food provision, improve up-take of eligible financial support, and develop sustainable food system resilience in diverse communities in order to tackle childhood food poverty. The Policy Brief was informed by the webinar and expert panel discussion held during the launch of the Food Systems Policy Hub, the purpose of which was to identify policy actions to tackle childhood food poverty at local and national levels. The Policy Brief includes recommendations for Government and Local Authorities to reduce childhood poverty, which will bring life-long benefits to health and wellbeing with economic benefits to society.

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Childhood Food Poverty in the UK

During the launch week of the Food Systems Policy Hub, we hosted a webinar entitled ‘Childhood Food Poverty in the UK’. Dr J. Bernadette Moore and Dr Charlotte Evans from the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds, hosted the event with guests from First Love Foundation, HENRY, the University of Sheffield, the University of Liverpool and Hull York Medical School. They  explored the current situation including social and economic pressures of COVID-19 and Brexit, which are posing additional challenges. The panel examined current community efforts aimed at mitigating food poverty and deliberated priority areas for policy action at both local and national levels. The event was attended by more than 300 participants from local authorities, businesses, charities, schools and universities.

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School children eating with teacher

House of Commons School Breakfast Bill

The School Breakfast Bill calls for legislation which will see vulnerable children receive a free breakfast while at school. The proposals for the Bill have been underpinned by research from N8 AgriFood Chair at the University of Leeds Professor Louise Dye, and colleagues Dr Katie Adolphus and Dr Clare Lawton. Their findings have been cited not only in the Bill’s proposals but also debated as it progresses through Parliament. Their articles published in Frontiers – The effects of breakfast on behaviour and academic performance in children and adolescents and Associations between habituate school-day breakfast consumption frequency and academic performance in British adolescents, along with their review in Advances in Nutrition – The effects of breakfast and breakfast consumption on cognition in children and adolescents: A systematic review all provide the crucial evidence of the need for the new legislation.

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The Holiday Activities and Food Programme

The management team behind the N8 AgriFood Food Systems Policy Hub, including Director Professor Bob Doherty, Operations Director Anthonia James, and Hub Manager Dr Belinda Morris, also run the Fix Our Food Programme. Recently Fix Our Food collaborated with the Food Foundation, the National Food Strategy and The Food People to produce a video, supported by England Footballer Marcus Rashford, to promote the Government’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme for 2021.

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Person stocking food bank shelves

Responding to COVID-19: Overcoming barriers to food access in the Liverpool City Region 

This is a policy brief by Dr Grace Patterson and N8 AgriFood Chair Professor Jonathan Rushton from the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place at the University of Liverpool.

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