Food poverty and food aid in the UK


This project considers the recent rise of food poverty in a context of austerity and precarity

Making up a food parcel

It focuses upon an urban area (the London Borough of Barnet) and a rural area (Pembrokeshire in west Wales). Initially, studies were made of organisations offering food aid, such as food banks, soup kitchens, community cafes and others. Subsequently, emphasis shifted to the role of the food industry in supplying surplus food, and the links with companies' corporate social responsibility. Currently, the research is considering new trends in food aid focusing upon 'dignity'.

For more information please visit the Food Poverty UK blog 


Professor Pat Caplan MA PhD

Professor Pat Caplan MA PhD
Department of Anthropology 



2016. ‘Big Society or Broken Society? Food Banks in the UK’. Anthropology Today 32, 1, 5-9.

2017. ‘Win-win? Food poverty, food aid and food surplus in the UK today’. Anthropology Today, June 2017, pp. 17-22.

Events Archive 

‘Gifts, entitlements, benefits and surplus: interrogating food poverty and food aid in the UK’

24th May 2017, Fourth annual Mary Douglas Memorial Lecture, University of Oxford

La pauvreté telle que l'entend l'anthropologie: le cas de l'insécurité alimentaire au Royaume-Uni au XXIe siècle

8 December 2016, Conférence à donner aux étudiants de maîtrise de l'Université de Lausanne

‘Outsourcing social welfare: food aid in 21st century UK’

20 January 2016, Seminar at Univerity of Durham

‘Big society or broken society? Food poverty and food aid in the UK in the 21st century’

October 2015, Annual Gold Lecture, Goldsmiths College

Win-win? Food poverty, food aid and food surplus in the UK today

31 January 2017, seminar given at the University of Brunel

Learning to think about food: an anthropological view

18 October 2017, paper presented at the Sociology Seminar, City University

Researching food poverty in the UK 2014-7: Ethnographies of food aid in north London and West Wales

11-12 December 2017, paper for Workshop on Poverty, University of Aarhus

Food poverty in the UK

5 December 2017, talk on food poverty for Thomas Coram Institute, UCL