Contributors > Academic, Food Writer

Martin Caraher

Focused on inequality and how many in our population don’t have adequate access to food; this leads to food poverty and obesity.

Martin has worked on food in various guises for over 40 years.  The last 20 years have been focussed on food poverty and inequity in the food system.  Since 2007 their research has shown how this has been getting ‘worse’ for many in our society.  In fact not since Victorian times have we seen such high levels of poverty.  This is compounded by the withdrawal and lack of public services with charity and philanthropy having to step up to the line. See https://emeraldopenresearch.com/articles/1-3/v2#referee-response-26439 for a view on this situation. His work in this area has moved from looking at food deserts/swamps, healthy food baskets, fast food concentrations in low incomes areas, school food delivery to offering a critique of food bank provision.

A lot of his work has been on cooking skills and how they can contribute to healthy eating.  However, he often finds this work is used by others as a justification to teach those in food poverty cooking and budgeting skills; in fact the data shows that those on low incomes are good household food managers and possess reasonable levels of skills.  High income groups are less skilled in culinary matters, but of course they don’t need to be. Lack of cooking skills are not the reason why people are in food poverty!

In terms of British or English food policy he is concerned over the increasing power given to the private sector to influence the agenda, see http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/2878/ . Government food policy seems to be driven by ideology not evidence.