COVID-19 continues to put huge pressure on essential food supply
Compiled from food banks in 15 cities, demand has tripled across the U.K., nearly quadrupled across London, and more than quadrupled in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham. Data supplied by the Trussell Trust suggests that 67 percent of that increased demand is new dependency caused by the coronavirus pandemic, whether because of having the disease or being directed to shield for 12 weeks by the government. This has led coronavirus to overtake low pay as the primary trigger of food bank use in 2020.
Food supply mitigation strategies introduced by the government, including free school meal replacement vouchers, have so far creaked or failed entirely under the strain caused by the pandemic. Vouchers have not worked at supermarket tills, and the Trussell Trust has said that its services will not be able to support demand long-term without financial changes to benefit systems. Chief executive Emma Revie told the Guardian last week: “It would be false for me to say we can continue to indefinitely meet an unprecedented level of increased demand. The problem is financial hardship. The answer to financial hardship is not food.” [Mirror]
And in other news...
- London’s pasta slingers aren’t easing up, sending out some of the best delivery food in the city.
- Pubs are urging the government to reconsider its current epidemiological advice for the sake of pints. The British Beer and Pub Association says that a one metre distancing rule, rather than the current two metre rule, would allow double the reopenings currently predicted for July.
- When voting down Agriculture Bill amendments designed to enshrine U.K. food standards in any post-Brexit trade deal, environment secretary George Eustice voted against his own 2019 proposals to enshrine U.K. food standards in any post-Brexit trade deals. [The London Economic]
- Pizza specialist Santa Maria is opening a new pizzeria in Brentford, inside a car dealership. Takeaway only for now. [Hot Dinners]
- A Bakkavor food manufacturing plant that employs 300 workers has halted production at one of its 25 factories after a fire. The company, which supplies supermarkets and restaurants with pre-prepared food, has been heavily criticised for its treatment of workers before and during the novel coronavirus pandemic. [Just Food]
- Good tweet:
Gregg Wallace signed up for a monthly Encyclopaedia Brittanica and now regrets it. There they sit, the sorest thumbs that ever stuck out, buckling his shelves while Gregg stares confusedly at the refund policy. His bookcase wasn't built for this. Google distributed load, Gregg! pic.twitter.com/A4DplcQPY8— Bookcase Credibility (@BCredibility) May 25, 2020