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When you read about healthy eating, it’s easy to find advice to tell you what kinds of food to eat. However, it’s harder to find pieces which admit just how difficult healthy food shopping can be. It isn’t just about knowing what foods you should buy but being able to afford them too.

The UK is currently experiencing a cost-of-living crisis. Everything is getting more expensive, from our energy bills to our food shops. You are not alone if you’re worried about how you’re going to afford to get by. We’ve previously written about how to enjoy a balanced diet on a budget.

Here, we want to talk about the latest research project we’re part of. At MoreLife, cutting edge research is an important part of what makes us, us. Before we tell you what we’re hoping to achieve, we want to give you some background and tell you more about who we’re working with.

Project Summary

  •  The issue of food insecurity – people who struggle to access nutritional and affordable food
  • We’re taking part in a new research project to address this issue. We’ll be working with universities across the UK.
  • This new research project will entail:
  • Talking with people about the changes we need to make
  • Accessing data from UK shoppers to understand their current shopping habits
  • Creating a space to test methods to see if change is possible
  • Applying our research to our MoreLife programmes
  • Sharing our findings across social media, webinars, and workshops

If you’re interested in finding out more, check out our detailed breakdown below.

Food Insecurity

Let’s begin by explaining food insecurity. This is when a person can’t access enough affordable or nutritious food. Families on low incomes are more likely to be food insecure.

The kind of food that is available to those with food security isn’t always the healthiest option. While it may be cheaper, its more likely to lack nutritional value and maybe ultra-processed.

Supermarket bargains don’t necessarily help with a balanced diet. There are so many elements that can impact shopping decisions: advertising, promotions and online product placements. These seemingly small things can make a big impact on what kind of food you’ll buy.

Sustainability is also an important factor, as your food shop can impact you carbon footprint. However, not everyone can afford to make the most sustainable choices. What can we do to change this to make a food shop a fairer experience for everyone?

Cutting Edge Research

This is where our latest research comes into play. We’re aiming to make healthy food shopping more accessible and more sustainable. At MoreLife, we’re proud to be in partnership with lots of great institutions that are working together to understand how we might improve food shopping. Especially supermarkets for people with weight problems and those facing food insecurity. We’re working closely with our parent company – Leeds Beckett University, alongside the University of Aberdeen plus several other university’s. Our group have been funded by the UK Research and Innovation as part of its Transforming UK Food Systems Strategic Priorities Fund Programme. We’re excited to be part of this team and can’t wait to get started.

Perspective

How will our research project work?

We can break our research project down into four parts. We start by talking to people. We’ll work with people living with obesity and food insecurity to understand the key issues facing them while shopping. We also want to talk to supermarkets and their policymakers to understand their point of view.

This balanced perspective will help us see the areas that need changing, alongside understanding changes we can realistically make. We want to ensure our work reflects what people need, and what the supermarkets can do, to create real, long-lasting changes.

Big Data

You can’t start a research project without collecting data, and we’re going to get a lot of it. We’re going to access data from over 1.6 million shoppers from a national high-street supermarket. We want to find out what food they’re buying, how healthy, how sustainable these purchases are, and how choices differ from household to household. This will include low-income households. This can help us figure out what in-store changes would encourage people to make healthier and more sustainable food choices.

Solution Space

Then we’ll put the perspectives and data together to design a new supermarket experience. We will test these new methods in-store and online to see how much of an impact the changes can make.

We will also use focus groups to test how effective these new strategies are. We want to speak with people living with obesity and food insecurity. By putting our research to the test with real people, we’ll be able to see which of our strategies will make a genuine difference to UK supermarkets. We want people to make healthy and sustainable choices.

Delivery

This leads us nicely to how we’ll deliver the project. We’ll take our findings and apply them to our MoreLife programmes, with the help of our clinical team and clients. This will be done digitally, through our vlogs and podcasts, alongside our face-to-face programmes.

We want to share the findings with as many people as possible. From food producers and retailers to patient groups, policymakers, and charities. We’ll share our findings through webinars, workshops, social media, and research briefing notes. This can help us make sure our project is relevant and transformative.

MoreLife Goals 

At MoreLife, we believe a healthy lifestyle should be accessible to everyone. By getting involved in research projects like the one we’ve just outlined, we believe we can make help make a real difference to the lives of people living with obesity and our MoreLife clients.

Our goal is to help people lead a healthy lifestyle in a way that works for them. Understanding the supermarket experience for people living with obesity, and finding new strategies, could make such a difference to so many people.

We’re so proud of the work we do, and all the brilliant institutions we get to work with. To find out more about the work we do, you can read about who we are.

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