How Covid-19 has exposed inequalities in the UK food system podcast


The global pandemic has revealed fundamental issues surrounding food insecurity in the UK. We join Bob Doherty and Madeleine Power, both at the University of York, to discuss how Covid-19 has exposed inequalities in the UK food system. 

In this episode, Daniel speaks with Professor Bob Doherty and Madeleine Power about how the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed inequalities in the UK food system. Low income households have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and resulting economic shutdown. How well have food banks responded and how will this welfare system be affected in the long run? Moreover, does the UK want to be an advanced capitalist nation dependent on food banking to support its most vulnerable? From the closure of restaurants to consumer stockpiling, Covid-19 has revealed both the strengths and weaknesses of the UK food system while highlighting pre-existing inequalities.

Speaker profile(s)

Bob Doherty is Professor of Marketing and Chair in Agrifood at The York Management School at the University of York. He holds a number of research positions including the University of York lead for N8 AgriFood, and research theme leader for sustainable food in the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI). Additionally, he has been seconded as a policy fellow into the UK Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on a new science research programme launched to inform policy making.

Madeleine Power is an ESRC Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York. She is the founder and former Chair of the York Food Justice Alliance, a cross-sector partnership addressing food insecurity at the local level, and Co-Chair of the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN).

In this episode

  • How does the UK food supply chain operate in a globalised system?
  • What role do food banks play in the lives of low income households and how have they been affected by disruptions to the food supply chain?
  • How did initial stockpiling affect food supply and what did it mean to food banks?
  • What do food banks reveal about the precarious relationship between the public and private sector?
  • Are food banks meeting the needs of an ethnically diverse population?
  • How does academic research reach practitioners in the field and how do they use it?

You can learn more about the subject by reading the Open Access article How COVID-19 has exposed inequalities in the UK food system: The case of UK food and poverty.

Read transcript

See all current podcasts

Browse podcasts