Research, outcomes and impact

The 2018-23 Food Strategy Action Plan includes a commitment to strengthening our relationship with the research community and improving the value of academic research on food for both practitioners and policymakers.

Tracking and measuring the impact of a citywide approach to food

We have also committed to developing innovative methods for tracking and measuring the impact of a citywide approach to food. Following a joint workshop with Sussex University in 2017, we have developed a draft outcomes framework. We are working with partners to pull together the indicators that will make this a practical tool, which we hope will also be useful for other cities. 

We regularly undertake research, both on our own and with other partners such as Brighton & Hove City Council Public Health. Our research reports are on our publications page.

Research needs

This is our current list of research needs. We welcome approaches from academic partners who would like to build these needs into their research:   

Impact of a city-wide approach to food  

  • Develop and further refine the outcomes framework, and explore further the possible links to SDG goals.  
  • Work with BHFP to produce an annual progress report on food strategy (Jan to March annually). 
  • A longer term (e.g.  PhD) project tracking the overall impact of the food strategy action plan over time, using and further refining the indicators in the outcomes framework and/or comparing B&H to places without a food strategy and/or using a survey approach e.g. tracking three specific streets over time. 
  • Explore social media content as a ‘good food culture’ indicator.  

 Community Food

  • Evaluation of activities taking place in the new Community Kitchen (social enterprise cookery school) including the impact of cooking skills and time eating together for participants. 
  • Experience of people participating in/volunteering at shared meal projects such as lunch clubs, following up previous ‘Eating Together’ research. 
  • Surveying community gardens in order to understand how many have been sustained since the independent Harvest Evaluation and at what level. 

Food Waste/ food surplus 

  • Desk research into best practice at a city-wide level on preventing domestic and commercial food waste to understand what a ‘food use’ city could look like. (Note this is focussed around reduction not redistribution, composting etc in line with the food waste hierarchy/Aim 7 of the food strategy action plan.) 
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the city’s surplus food network. Carrying out the annual food partnership January monitoring exercise with surplus food groups which measures weight of food intercepted comparing with baseline data. And/or qualitative research e.g. case studies exploring the experience of people volunteering surplus food redistribution projects, especially the impact on their health and wellbeing.
  • Quantitative research on the value of surplus food i.e.  financial value of ‘rescued’ food and/or carbon saved, using records from our food donation referral system that we don’t have capacity to analyse. We would also like establish the effectiveness of our online referral system either alongside, or as a separate project.  
  • Develop a food-related waste (packaging, energy, water) ‘reduction’ indicator as part of BHFP-led development of a city-wide ‘food use strategy’ and/or CO2 reduction indicator.

Food poverty/inequalities and food access  

  • The cost and availability of basic goods in different areas of the city (especially supermarkets vs convenience stores) to improve understanding of which areas are without access to affordable healthy food. 
  • Visibility of veg in least deprived vs most deprived areas of the city – to test out how this works as a measure for ‘food inequality’ and potentially establish a baseline to help measure the impact of having a city-wide approach to food. Potential for comparing visibility stats with other food /health related stats such as rates of bowel cancer, and city stats such as deprivation, to see any correlations.  Qualitative approach could also Focus on experience of accessing fresh veg in deprived versus less deprived areas, and the factors involved especially talking to retailers of for example convenience stores, as well as residents.  Possible link to building upon the Lidl/ Brighton Uni/ Food Foundation Pease Please project. 
  • Support with undertaking and analysing data and from annual survey and report on food banks carried out by BHFP (Summer each year).
  • Qualitative research to understand food poverty better in relation to groups identified as vulnerable including young working age people, BAME people and young people moving on from care.  

Food Production 

  • Explore options for an indicator based on proportion of nearby agricultural land (a) retained for food (b) managed to high sustainability standards.  
  • Explore options for an indicator based on health of pollinators.  
  • Explore options for an indicator based on health of marine environment. 
  • Explore the ecological footprint of the city that is related to food using foodprint methodology or similar. This could focus on carbon footprint but also aim to give co-benefits (e.g. surplus food, landfill, community composting).


  • Develop an indicator based on number and diversity (including smaller/independent/non-town-centre) of food businesses via NOMIS/BHCC.
  • Explore options for an indicator based on number of young people training for food career/ ‘decent’ food jobs. 


  • Explore options for an indicator based on actions taken by members of the Good Food Procurement Group, to calculate number of people affected and/or wider impact e.g. CO2 reduction.

 Health & Sustainability 

  • We regularly collaborate with Public Health and others on research, for example recently on JSNA and on malnutrition and hospital discharge research. Please contact us to discuss current projects.
  • Desk research on the different ways in which advertising of unhealthy products in areas around schools, play areas, parks and other areas frequented by children could be banned, including best practice from other areas.

Policy & Planning 

  • Mainly Desk based project with some possible interviews, to look at the impact of our city-wide approach on influencing policy, analysing whether food is now featuring more centrally at a policy level. 
  • Evaluate the impact of the Supplementary Planning Document on food growing spaces and whether this has led to increased food growing spaces and increased food growing.


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