The purpose of this paper is to present the findings from two recent reviews on food aid use in the UK and discuss their implications and the challenges they posed for researchers, policy makers and the voluntary and community sector.
The paper draws on two research reviews conducted in 2013 and 2014.
Whilst it is possible to draw important insights into key drivers of food aid use, how food aid is draw on by recipients and some of the perceived outcomes of the provision from the research that is available, ultimately the reviews highlight the emergent and largely unsystematic nature of the UK evidence base. The lack of agreed definitions and measures of food insecurity/food poverty further limits the knowledge base. Even where such evidence may be forthcoming, in terms of implementing effective solutions to the need for food aid, UK researchers, policy makers, NGOs and others face considerable challenges in terms of identifying responsibilities for addressing the causes of this need, which the most effective scale for response may be (local or national) and finally, overcoming a highly complex and not necessarily co-ordinated policy framework.
The paper provides a critical overview of the state of knowledge on food aid in the UK.
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