COVID-19 is both exacerbating and increasing food insecurity
As U.K. food banks face unprecedented uptake, one of the key measures designed to alleviate some of the pressure on their services isn’t working. A supermarket voucher scheme for children normally entitled to free school meals isn’t enabling those in need to buy food, because of the limitations on which supermarkets and food shops participate. Private contractor Edenred’s scheme entitles each child to £15 in vouchers per week, but their parents must choose from Aldi, McColl’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose, and M&S when redeeming them, and sometimes it’s the schools, not the parents making the decision. This can artificially create, or broaden food deserts, by limiting the availability of food.
At the same time, food banks are experiencing sustained, cataclysmic waves of demand: the Trussell Trust provided 81 percent more emergency food parcels in the last two weeks of March than in the equivalent period of 2019 and describes the situation as a “tidal wave.” Coronavirus isn’t just increasing incidences of food poverty: it’s exacerbating extant inequality. [BBC]
And in other news:
- Over half of Britons will be uncomfortable returning to restaurants, according to a second poll on diners’ wariness of eating out. They both reach the same conclusion.
- Many of London’s best restaurants are introducing limited delivery and collection services, for meals, wine, coffee, and more.
- Restaurant revenue forecasts for the remainder of 2020 validate the industry’s calls for sustained government intervention. Without it, there will a “bloodbath.”
- The dire state of employment rights for undocumented workers on Spanish farms that supply U.K. supermarkets has only been worsened by COVID-19. [Guardian]
- Good tweet: