NEARLY three quarters (73%) of Scots are worried about the impact that a second wave of Covid-19 would have on food supplies, a new YouGov survey has shown.

Fears for the food system’s resilience in the face of disruption from climate change and trade interruptions after the Brexit transition period ends are also playing on public consciousness, highlighting a growing desire to future-proof the UK’s food system.

The survey also found a greater readiness to adopt new agricultural innovations and plant breeding techniques to help meet future consumer demand for food in Scotland, compared with the rest of the UK.

Although the UK’s food supplies have stabilised since the early days of the pandemic, when scenes of panic buying and empty supermarket shelves were commonplace, the crisis has left people sensitised to the issue, showing an increased anxiety about there being sufficient availability of fresh food in Scotland and other parts of the UK.

Whereas only 7% of Scots were worried this time last year, nearly five times (35%) that number are now concerned about what the next decade will bring, and just 45% are confident that the food and farming system is prepared for a second wave of Covid-19 or a future pandemic.

Only 6% of Brits now say they are very confident, according to the results of the survey of over 2000 UK adults, carried out on behalf of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council.

More than a third (36%) of Scots are more worried about the availability of fresh food in Scotland and the rest of the UK, compared to the views of food security in other countries.

Public fears about the security of food supply are not limited to the effects of coronavirus, in the context of the ever-growing challenge to produce high-quality, affordable food whilst boosting productivity and competing with foreign imports. Over two-thirds (69%) of Scots expressed fears about the consequences of climate change and climate events such as drought, amidst another British summer with soaring temperatures.

Less than one in three (29%) Scots are confident that the food and farming system is prepared for environmental extremes such as extreme heat or flooding, and only 27% are confident that the UK is prepared for biological threats such as new pests.