DEFRA’s Food Statistics Pocketbook 2014

DEFRA’s Food Statistics Pocketbook 2014 was published earlier this month — and an interesting read its 60-odd pages are too.

FoodStatisticsPacketbook2014_frontispieceIn a two-page summary (pp8-9), it gives some numbers about the scale of what it takes to feed 64M people safely and what that impact is, in particular on the poorest of households.

Below are listed of the key factoids from their summary:

  • The total consumer spend on food, drink and catering is £196 billion, of which £112 billion is, according to these stats, household expenditure, and £84 billion on ‘catering services’ — what’s everything from hospital meals and motorway service stations to your local chippie or curry house through to Michelin-starred restaurants.
  • In supplying all this — and food exports — is a sector contributing £96.9 billion or 7.1% to the national GVA in 2012, and 3.6M or 13% of national employment.

Food Supply & Prices

  • Food prices have risen 18% in real terms since 2007.
  • Median income after housing costs fell 13% between 2002-03
    and 2012-13 for low income decile households. In 2011-12,
    all other incomes groups saw decreases in median income of
    between 0.8% and 3.3%.
  • In 2012, 24 countries together accounted for 90% of UK
    food supply. Just over half of this (53%) was supplied
    domestically from within the UK.
  • The total value of food and drink exports rose slightly in 2013
    to £18.9 billion, £6.0 billion more than in 2005 measured in
    2013 prices.

Environment and Waste

  • In 2012, total domestic CO2 emissions from food and drink manufacturing fell 2.2% on 2011.
  • Estimated total UK food and drink waste is around 15 million tonnes per year, with households generating 7mt/year of which 4.2 is avoidable (i.e. fit to eat).
  • The average UK household spend on food that could have been eaten but is thrown away is £470 a year.
  • In 2012 local authorities were collecting over 5 times as much food waste for recycling as they were in 2007.

Health & Food Safety

  • Fruit and vegetable consumption is falling. The lowest 10% of households by income purchase the least fruit and vegetables at an average of 2.9 portions per person per day in 2012, 11% less than in 2007.
  • In England in 2012 the obesity rate across all adults was 25%, with a further 37% overweight.
  • High level incidents dealt with by the FSA in 2013 included an investigation into horse and pig DNA in beef products; two E.coli O157 outbreaks linked to watercress and Caribbean soft fruit drink contaminated with cocaine, which caused one fatality.
  • In May 2014 the main food issue of concern to respondents was food prices at 51%, a decrease from 59% in May 2013.



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