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E-food Desert Index

The e-food desert index (EFDI) is a multi-dimensional composite index for GB which measures the extent to which neighbourhoods exhibit characteristics associated with food deserts across four key drivers of groceries accessibility:

  • Proximity and density of grocery retail facilities
  • Transport and accessibility
  • Neighbourhood socio-economic and demographic characteristics
  • E-commerce availability and propensity

The EFDI incorporates new indicators of online groceries (home delivery) provision and propensity to engage with online groceries, the latter drawn from an existing CDRC data resource, the 2018 Internet User Classification. In addition to urban deprivation, it highlights a new driver of inequalities in access to groceries, termed ‘e-food deserts’ – remote and rural neighbourhoods which suffer the dual disadvantage of comparatively poor access to physical retail opportunities alongside limited provision of online groceries.

Note: England & Wales are scored, ranked and allocated to deciles separately to Scotland due to slight differences in the way three of the input variables are calculated in Scotland. This means that the index cannot be used to directly compare the score, rank or decile group between LSOAs in England and Wales and Data Zones in Scotland. However, it remains a robust resource for comparison between LSOAs and DZs within England & Wales or Scotland, and as a tool to explore groceries accessibility by small area or area type GB-wide. More details can be found in the EFDI User Guide.

University of Leeds
Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
Great Britain
Temporal Coverage
January 2020 to December 2020
Dr Andy Newing
Contact Name
Newing, Andy
Contact Email
Public Access Level
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UK Open Government Licence (OGL)

Data Extent


UK Open Government Licence (OGL)