Home » News » Which? highlights neighbourhoods in Wales most at risk of food insecurity

Which? highlights neighbourhoods in Wales most at risk of food insecurity

Consumer group Which? have used our Priority Places for Food Index to highlight the neighbourhoods in Wales most in need of support to access food during the current cost of living crisis.

As part of their recent Policy research paper – Consumers in Wales – a food briefing – Which? explored and highlighted the Priority Places in Welsh Senedd Regions.

RegionTotal number of neighbourhoodsProportion that are priority placesWhy are neighbourhoods in this region classed as priority places?
Mid and West Wales34615%Overall, neighbourhoods in Mid and West Wales tend to have relatively worse supermarket and non-supermarket proximity and poor online delivery access.  The priority places in this region are particularly characterised by poorer than average supermarket proximity and supermarket accessibility.
North Wales38512%There are higher levels of fuel poverty in North Wales. Neighbourhoods in this region that are priority places tend to have higher socio-economic barriers.  
South Wales Central43920%Neighbourhoods in South Wales Central score relatively well across many factors and around the national average for family food support and socio-demographics. Priority places in this region have particularly high levels of fuel poverty, higher socio-demographic barriers and poor online delivery access.
South Wales East40432%South Wales East has a disproportionately high number of priority places and this is driven by a high need for family food support.
South Wales West33519%Overall, areas in South Wales West are around the national average or higher. Priority places in this region are characterised as having high levels of fuel poverty and high need for family food support.

Note: Which? Analysis of the Priority Places for Food index. LSOAs (Lower Super Output Areas) are matched to constituencies and regions using a best-fit approach. Neighbourhoods i.e. LSOAs are matched to the constituency where the highest proportion of the neighbourhood’s population falls into. The population estimates are based on the city and town classification analysis.

What is a priority place for food?

Priority places are neighbourhoods most at risk of food insecurity, and where interventions to help people access affordable food will be most valuable.

There are many reasons why people may find it difficult to access affordable food. 

Some relate to individuals’ circumstances, like lower incomes. Other reasons relate to the place that someone lives, such as the level of retail provision or the quality of public transport. In the case of accessing affordable food online, barriers may be both place-based (limited or no online deliveries) or related to the individual (limited capability to shop online).

Which? is calling on Supermarkets and the Welsh and British Government to help those most at risk of food insecurity – find out more and read the full report.

What is the Priority Place for Food Index?

The Priority Places for Food Index – developed by Dr Michelle Morris, Dr Pete Baudains and Dr Fran Pontin in collaboration with Which? – is a composite index formed of data compiled across seven different dimensions relating to food insecurity for the four nations in the UK. It is constructed using open data to capture complex and multidimensional aspects of food insecurity.

Building on the CDRC e-Food Desert Index, from Dr Andy Newing, but with additional domains relating to fuel poverty and family food support, the goal of the Priority Places for Food Index is to identify neighbourhoods that are most vulnerable to increases in the cost of living and which have a lack of accessibility to affordable, healthy, and sustainable sources of food.

The index is developed at the geographic level of Lower Super Output Areas in England and Wales, Data Zones in Scotland and Super Output Areas in Northern Ireland (2011 boundaries). Data for all countries is included where possible, but some indicators are not available across all countries.