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The Food and You Survey, Wave 5 Secondary Analysis: The Food Landscape in Wales

Published: November 2019

Aim

This secondary analysis report of Wave 5 of the Food and You survey explored four key areas of the food landscape in Wales: food security, food safety practices, trust in the Food Standards Agency and food supply chain, and dietary choices and food hypersensitivities. In each of these four areas of interest, findings from Wales were compared with those from England and Northern Ireland.

Findings

Food security

  • 10% of respondents in Wales reported experiencing low food security (10% marginal food security, 80% high food security) which are consistent with the levels reported in England and Northern Ireland.
  • Respondents in low food security households were most likely to be young (18% of 16-34 year olds), in households with children (23% of households with children under the age of 16) and with lower household incomes (22% of households with income lower than £20,799).
  • Low food security has a clear impact on wellbeing. Those in low food security households are less likely to have high or very high life satisfaction (64%), least likely to report a high or very high score when asked if they felt their lives were worthwhile (64%), least likely to report high or very high happiness (61%), and least likely to report low or very low anxiety (45%).

Food safety

  • Food and You includes a composite measure of food hygiene knowledge and behaviours within the home known as the Index of Recommended Practice (IRP). A higher IRP score indicates more reported behaviours that are in line with recommended food safety practice.
  • The average IRP score for respondents in Wales was 69, slightly lower than Northern Ireland (72) but higher than in England (67).
  • Households with incomes of £41,600 or more had a lower average IRP score (66) than lower income households (69-72).
  • People aged 35-64 were more likely to score 81-100 on the IRP (out of 100) than younger or older people. Just over a quarter (27%) of those aged 35-64 scored 81-100, compared with 10% of 16-34 year olds and 20% of those aged 65 or over.
  • Women had a higher average IRP score (72) compared to men (65).

Trust in the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and food supply chain

In exploring levels of trust in the FSA held by respondents in Wales, 40% reported high trust, 33% medium trust and 27% low trust in the FSA.

Respondents in Wales were more likely to have high trust in the FSA (40%) than those in England (32%) but less likely than respondents in Northern Ireland (47%).

A similar proportion of respondents in Wales (38%) had low trust in the food supply chain when compared with England (37%), while respondents in Northern Ireland were least likely to have low trust in the food supply chain (28%).

When looking at the individual questions that make up the composite measure of trust in the food supply chain, 59% of respondents in Wales were very or quite sure that food from Britain has been prepared to the highest standard and 53% that all guidelines had been followed in its production.

The vast majority of participants (85%) were very or quite sure that the food they buy is safe.

Food diets and hypersensitivities

  • Respondents in Wales (9%) were less likely than respondents in England (11%) but more likely than respondents in Northern Ireland (5%) to report that they were vegan, vegetarian or partially vegetarian.
  • In Wales, 4% of respondents reported a food allergy; 8% reported a food intolerance; and 6% reported an ‘other’ adverse reaction. Overall, 83% of respondents reported no adverse reaction to food.
  • In comparing reported food allergies in Wales (4%) to England and Northern Ireland, respondents in England were most likely to report a food allergy (5%), with fewer in Northern Ireland (2%). While similar proportions of respondents in Wales (8%) and Northern Ireland (9%) reported food intolerances, a greater number of individuals in England reported living with such conditions (11%). 
  • Women in Wales (20%) were more likely to report an adverse reaction to food, in comparison to men (13%).
  • Respondents with bad health (11%) in Wales were more than twice as likely as those with good (4%) or fair (4%) health to report that they had a food allergy (8%).
  • Respondents with higher household incomes (£41,600 or higher) were least likely (10%) to report a reaction to food allergies or intolerances, in comparison to respondents with a household income between £20,800 and £41,599 (22%) or below £20,799 (18%).

Methods

A secondary analysis of the Food and You (Wave 5) survey issued to 3,069 adults over 16 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between June and December 2018. Along with bivariate analysis, a range of derived variables were applied. 

Researchers:

Amelia Benson, Joe Crowley, Clare Littleford and Karen Windle (NatCen Social Research)

Alizon Draper (University of Westminster)

Download from the Food Standards Agency website (English language)

Download from the Food Standards Agency website (Welsh language)