Resilience of the UK
food system
to Global Shocks


Food consumption is changing

An increasing global population needs more food, fuel and shelter than ever before. Simultaneously, income growth is  changing food consumption towards commodities that are more land-intensive to supply. 

In an increasingly interconnected global food system local shocks can have wider impacts. To mitigate and adapt to these we need a better understanding of where food supply chains are vulnerable and where they show resilience.

The RUGS project at the University of Edinburgh will look at how the global food system deals with shocks, and will develop our understanding of the impact that these shocks have on the UK food system.

 Varying population graph

Managing volatile food systems

Volatile food prices can have negative impacts on food supply chains, impacting producers, processors, distributors and consumers. Higher food prices increase the share of income required for purchasing food, leaving low income householder particularly vulnerable. Price spikes and fluctuations can also influence diets, shifting consumption patterns towards less healthy, cheaper foods.

A better understanding of the UK food system and its vulnerability to global shocks will help identify ways to increase resilience, leading to improved food security.

 Photograph indicating volatile food market

Versatile Modelling

The project will develop a versatile model to characterise the global food system and to explore global resilience. This will combine stakeholder insights and response behaviors with a novel land use model.  We aim to identify mitigation actions and adaptations to reduce and limit the impact of supply and price volatility.

We aim to identify mitigation actions and adaptations to reduce and limit the impact of supply and price volatility
network map of global food system

Stakeholder participation

A series of workshops and written communications will allow us to work with stakeholders to examine actions and policies that could increase UK food resilience. Representation from a diverse stakeholder group will allow a variety of voices to be heard from policy, the commercial sphere and the third sector.

Stakeholder participation will allow us to better understand the range of impacts global shocks can have on UK food supply chains and to help us to consider plausible scenarios that might be then be incorporated into our model and other project outputs.

Stake holder food policy diagram


Our project team has extensive cross-disciplinary experience, developed through a range of multi-partner projects at global, European and UK levels.  The team conducts applied research, using modelling, scenario development and non-market valuation  to address policy questions and to inform decision making in  the UK and beyond.


Project Partners