The latest iteration of the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food and You 2 survey, conducted between April and July 2023, reveals a notable increase in respondents’ worries regarding the affordability of food, marking the highest level since the survey’s inception.

Wave 7 of the survey uncovered that 55% of individuals across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland expressed being ‘highly concerned’ about the affordability of food, up from 48% in Wave 5, which coincided with the same period in 2022.

A staggering eighty percent of respondents acknowledged having adjusted their eating habits in the past 12 months due to financial constraints. Among the most prevalent alterations were dining out less frequently (49%) and opting for home-cooked meals more often (45%). Additionally, some respondents confessed to adopting riskier food safety practices, such as prolonging the consumption of leftovers (21%) and consuming food beyond its use-by date (21%).

In parallel, the percentage of respondents reporting levels of household food insecurity—defined as having limited or uncertain access to sufficient food—remained constant at 25%, mirroring the figures from the preceding wave and marking the joint-highest level since the survey’s inception four years ago. Notably, four percent of respondents disclosed resorting to food banks in the past 12 months (compared to 3% in Wave 5), while 5% availed themselves of ‘social supermarkets’ offering discounted food to individuals with lower incomes. Younger adults, households with lower incomes, families with children, and individuals with chronic health conditions were identified as the groups more prone to reporting food insecurity.

This survey, an official statistic, gauges self-reported knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours concerning food safety and related issues.

‘The latest data indicates escalating apprehensions regarding rising food prices, with nearly nine out of ten individuals expressing either high or moderate concern about the affordability of food—the highest level recorded since the inception of our survey. It is particularly disconcerting that some respondents are resorting to riskier food practices to economise, such as extending the lifespan of leftovers and consuming food beyond its use-by date. These behaviours heighten the risk of foodborne illnesses.

‘To make food resources stretch further, we advocate for adherence to our guidelines for food safety, including freezing food on or before its use-by date if immediate consumption is not intended. We provide comprehensive advice on to assist individuals in exercising judgment and making informed choices while prioritising safety.’

Emily Miles, FSA Chief Executive

About the report    

Fieldwork for Food and You 2: Wave 7 was conducted between 23 April and 10 July 2023. A total of 5,812 adults from 4,006 households across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland took part.    

Read the research    

The full Wave 7 report is available in the research section of our website (Opens in a new window)


Sam Allcock, a seasoned entrepreneur with over two decades of expertise in Food & Drink Editorial.

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