Broken Plate report analyses the state of the UK’s food system

Date: 12th October 2020
Category: Disability, Basic Health and Welfare


Ten metrics have been used to provide a holistic picture of the UK’s food system, encompassing the food environment, drivers of food choice and the impact of the current food system on our health and the environment.

The first Broken Plate report was published in 2019, with data mostly covering the period 2016-17. It established the baseline of the health of the UK’s food system and set out key recommendations to realign the food system so that it delivers improved and more equitable health outcomes. The 2020 report uses the same ten metrics to monitor whether the situation has improved or worsened since 2019’s report.

The ten metrics include: advertising, places to buy food, the affordability of a healthy diet, wages, food prices, products with too much sugar, products with too little veg, childhood obesity, child growth and diabetes.

The report finds:

  • Advertising spend on fruit and vegetables has increased since 2017, but remains low, with just 2.9% of ad spend on food and drink going towards fruit and vegetables.
  • Forty-five local authorities in England have seen more than a five percent increase in the proportion of food outlets that are fast food takeaways.
  • The poorest 20% of UK households would need to spend 39% of their disposable income on food to meet the Eatwell Guide. This compares to just eight percent for the richest 20%.
  • 16% of workers in the food sector earn the minimum wage compared to seven percent of workers across the UK.
  • Healthy foods are three times more expensive than less healthy foods per calorie.
  • The situation regarding products with too much sugar has started to improve, with the proportion of children’s cereals with a high sugar content decreasing by 12 percentage points between 2019 and 2020.
  • This year, 24% of ready meals were vegetarian or plant-based, which is a 33% increase since 2018.
  • Obesity among children continues to be greater amongst the most deprived communities compared to the least deprived.
  • Children in deprived communities are more than one centimetre shorter on average than children in wealthy communities by the time they reach age 11.
  • Diabetes-related amputations have increased by 18% in four years.

Read the report in full here.