Opinions

The problem with bringing food to the table

Written by: Emily Liddle, Campaigns Officer, Citizens Advice Scotland

Food on the Table is a national campaign giving people the opportunity to have their say on the cost, availability and access to good food.

We should all be able to access healthy and nutritious food, for ourselves and family. Regardless of where we live, disability status, age or employment status, we should have choice, variety and value when buying food.

The cost of food is rising, we’re struggling to get on the property ladder and our household bills are increasing – yet, our wages are stagnating. This on-going pressure to put not only food on the table, but food that is good for us is affecting our finances and is affecting our well-being.

Listening to clients across the Citizens Advice Bureaux network, we know that people living in Scotland face huge difficulties when affording food. Households worry about their weekly food shopping bill, a lack of choice in their local supermarket and how they’ll keep putting healthy food on the table for their kids. This worry and anxiety can lead people to borrow money, use credit, go to foodbanks and in many cases, skip meals completely because budgets won’t stretch.

Along with this, our recent research shows that one third of Scots sometimes go without food simply because they can’t afford it. Together with evidence from the bureaux network consistently telling us that people are struggling to afford the basics, we have a powerful backdrop to our advocacy work.

We want to explore the problems that people are faced with when trying to access healthy and nutritious food and in order to do so, we need to give Scottish people a voice on this issue.

Food on the Table is a national campaign, launching a survey that will give everyone in Scotland the chance to have their say on food.

We want to know the day-to-day reality of food shopping. Do you struggle to afford fresh meat and fish? Do you wish there was more choice of frozen foods where you shop? Do you have dietary needs that aren’t catered for in your local area, meaning that you have to pay more?

And cost isn’t the only issue. Access can be a huge problem for people across the country. We know that if you have a disability, you can be reliant on home delivery of your groceries, automatically costing you more. If you live in a rural area, you might be reliant on expensive public transport to get you to your local supermarket. Or, perhaps where you live means there is poor choice and little value.

This is an opportunity for people in Scotland to join the national conversation on food; it’s such an important and relevant issue and we want to know about different people’s experiences when bringing food to the table.

The survey is available to take online at: www.cas.org.uk/foodonthetable (this link will take you away from our website).

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Citizens Advice Scotland

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