Wednesday 8th April 2020

Next week, the Food Foundation’s web-based COVID-19 tracker will launch on our homepage to provide up-to-date commentary on how coronavirus is impacting the food system, and how these changes are affecting citizens. This will include new research; data analysis; insights from the front line; best practice examples; input from children and young people; case studies from local authorities, charities, businesses and citizens, and reflections from experts across multiple sectors.

Monitoring COVID-19’s progress and responses to the emergency will enable us to learn about how citizens, communities, policymakers and businesses react, and should inform our ambitions for food system transformation post-pandemic.

Follow system-wide developments from our homepage as we track shifting challenges and demands, and look at how coronavirus-driven change is reflected in the food system.

We’ll be focusing on four areas:


THE BIG PICTURE: How is COVID-19 affecting how we feed ourselves?

COVID-19 is having a significant impact on the UK food system. To understand what this will mean for citizens, we’ll be monitoring trajectories for these variables:

  • Infection and mortality rates
  • Civil cohesion and food poverty
  • Food prices
  • Fruit and vegetable sales


VULNERABLE GROUPS: Who is at risk and how are they being helped?

The government has identified 1.5 million people in the UK who are at elevated risk of the virus from a health perspective, but millions more will require support: the pandemic is taking hold in a Britain where too many people already struggle to afford enough nutritious food. Without the right help to deal with the conditions created by COVID-19, citizens who are economically vulnerable and food insecure may find themselves battling illness, hunger and debt. As a vulnerable group already at greater risk of food insecurity, children and young people could face further barriers to accessing affordable, nutritious food as a result of COVID-19.

We’ll be identifying the vulnerable groups, investigating how their needs are being addressed and finding opportunities to improve the response. In order to understand how COVID-19 is affecting children in the UK, we’ll be following developments in policy designed to protect them, and will create platforms from which young people can tell us about their experience of lockdown, and what they’re eating in quarantine.


FOOD BUSINESSES: How is COVID-19 changing the food industry?

In order to understand food system consolidation and resilience, we’ll be monitoring COVID-19’s impact on the structure and economics of the food industry, identifying where old business models are forced to expire and where innovation is shaping new alternatives. We’ll also be looking at how companies are prioritising food that is healthy and affordable, and where private sector solutions to access problems are ensuring that vulnerable groups receive the food they need. In the long-term, will the changes we see in this sector hinder or accelerate progress towards a food system that is healthy and sustainable for human and planetary health?


FRUIT AND VEGETABLES: How is COVID-19 affecting fruit and veg access and prices?

Tracking the pandemic’s impact on the UK’s fruit and vegetable supply chains means following the affordability and accessibility of fruit and veg, as well as labour developments and the quality of jobs in horticulture. We’ll be monitoring movement in these areas and watching in real-time as COVID-19 shapes the future of British horticulture.


Please contact with any questions.