The latest wave of the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food and You 2 survey has revealed that consumers have reported the highest level of food affordability concerns since the survey began.

Wave seven of the survey, conducted between April and July 2023, aimed to identify consumer concerns and eating habits.

FSA said that 55% of the survey respondents said they were “highly concerned” about the affordability of food, while a further 34% said they were “somewhat concerned”.

Additionally, 80% of the respondents reported that they had made a change to their eating habits for financial reasons in the previous 12 months. FSA said the most common changes were eating out less (49%) and eating at home more (45%), some respondents said they kept leftovers for longer (21%) while others ate food past its use-by date (21%).

Food insecurity remains steady

FSA stated that the number of respondents who reported levels of household food insecurity remained at 25%, the same as the previous wave and the joint-highest level since the survey began four years ago.

It was reported that 4% of respondents used a food bank in the last 12 months, a 1% increase compared to Wave five of the survey. A total of 68% of respondents reported having confidence in the food supply chain.

Emily Miles, FSA chief executive, said: “The latest data shows increasing levels of concern about rising food prices, with almost nine out of 10 people reporting that they were highly or somewhat concerned about the affordability of food – the highest level since our survey began.

“It is particularly concerning that some respondents were telling us they were turning to riskier food behaviours to save money, such as keeping leftovers for longer and eating food past its use-by date. These types of behaviours can lead to a higher risk of people becoming ill with food poisoning.

“To make food go further, we are encouraging people to follow our tips for keeping food safe, including freezing food on or before its use-by date if you are not going to use it.”