Briefing paper 30: Food insecurity in deprived Glasgow neighbourhoods

Wednesday 19 December 2018

This briefing paper looks at the nature and extent of food insecurity among residents of Glasgow’s deprived communities, specifically aiming to answer the following questions:

How many people struggle to afford food, how has this changed over time, and who does this affect?

What factors are associated with entering food insecurity between 2011 and 2015?

How is food insecurity described by people who report difficulty affording food?

Key findings

 Levels of food insecurity in GoWell areas have remained broadly steady since 2006 at around 18%. However, some groups, particularly single adults and those out of work due to illness or disability, have experienced trends towards increased food insecurity, while older adults appear to have become more food secure over time.

Entering food insecurity between 2011 and 2015 was strongly associated with the impact of welfare reforms. Participants whose income had been affected by any welfare reforms were more than three times as likely to enter food affordability difficulties as those who had not, while 41% of those affected by two or more welfare reforms had become food insecure between 2011 and 2015.

Entering food insecurity bore a strong association with deteriorating health. Those whose self-reported health was worse in 2015 than in 2011 were twice as likely to have entered food affordability difficulties as those who reported no change in their general health. Furthermore, those who developed mental health problems between 2011 and 2015 were two-and-a-half times more likely to enter food affordability difficulties than those whose mental health was unchanged.

Participants often reported complex strategies adopted in order to manage a restricted food budget, as well as a desire to be able to eat well.

Participants strongly identified feelings of stress, anxiety and shame associated with struggling to afford food, as well as its negative impacts on their sense of identity, belonging and family life.