We report the results of a structured expert elicitation to identify the most likely types of potential food system disruption scenarios for the UK, focusing on routes to civil unrest. We take a backcasting approach by defining as an end-point a societal event in which 1 in 2000 people have been injured in the UK, which 40% of experts rated as “Possible (20–50%)”, “More likely than not (50–80%)” or “Very likely (>80%)” over the coming decade. Over a timeframe of 50 years, this increased to 80% of experts. The experts considered two food system scenarios and ranked their plausibility of contributing to the given societal scenario. For a timescale of 10 years, the majority identified a food distribution problem as the most likely. Over a timescale of 50 years, the experts were more evenly split between the two scenarios, but over half thought the most likely route to civil unrest would be a lack of total food in the UK. However, the experts stressed that the various causes of food system disruption are interconnected and can create cascading risks, highlighting the importance of a systems approach. We encourage food system stakeholders to use these results in their risk planning and recommend future work to support prevention, preparedness, response and recovery planning.
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Building and Construction
- Planning and Development