The poll finds a clear majority (85%) want to see at least some of the personal or social changes they have experienced continue afterwards, just 9% want a complete to return to normal.
18th April 2020
The newly-released YouGov survey was commissioned by the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, together with food charity The Food Foundation.
The poll finds a clear majority (85%) want to see at least some of the personal or social changes they have experienced continue afterwards, while just 9% want a complete to return to normal.*
It also identifies significant changes to our relationship with food, family and the environment:
The FFCC commissioned the poll as part of its work to shape a new vision and an action plan for more sustainable food and farming, land use and the rural economy. It follows on from research funded by FFCC and the Food Foundation released over Easter, which shows a sharp rise in food insecurity during lockdown.
The FFCC is collecting data on the changes taking place in communities and nationally, to gather individual stories and map significant shifts that can inform the UK’s recovery and reconstruction after lockdown.
Sue Pritchard, Director of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, said:
“It’s taken a pandemic to reveal just how fragile our food system is.
“Anyone in the food industry is now a key worker. National food security is a government priority. Yet while many people are going hungry, our dairy farmers can’t sell their milk, and healthy vegetables are left unharvested in the field. This research is showing that important changes are starting to take hold which government must use to guide future policy.”
Professor Tom MacMillan from the Royal Agricultural University, and research lead for the Commission, said:
“This data shows there is a real appetite for change, and for the nation to learn from this crisis. People are trying new things and noticing differences, at home, in their work and in communities. This is really apparent when it comes to food, farming and the countryside, the issues the Commission is focused on, but clear in other areas too.
"Alongside the emergency response, it is important keep track of these changes in what we’re doing and our collective mood, to help shape the kind of country we want to be, including the way want to feed ourselves, when we recover from this pandemic.”
Anna Taylor, Executive Director of the Food Foundation, said:
“The same poll that revealed this appetite for social change highlighted an alarming and worsening food insecurity crisis, with three million in Britain going hungry since lockdown began. These figures create an imperative for reshaping the food system post-COVID-19 so that it delivers healthy diets for everyone, regardless of how much they earn.”
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, said:
"The lockdown is far from over and it’s right that the immediate emergency is the priority, but two things are important to note: firstly that the end of lockdown is ever more likely to be phase than a single event, which will take time to pass; and secondly that, amid the awful news and general doom, we must use this time to imagine a better future. This poll shows that the British people are increasingly aware that the health of people and planet are inseparable and it’s time for radical environmental, social, political and economic change.”
Note: this press release was originally published on the RSA website (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), which hosted the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission between November 2017-April 2020.