The Food environment assessment tool (Feat) was created by researchers and research support staff from the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) and MRC Epidemiology Unit, at the University of Cambridge, UK.

The individuals directly involved in the project were:

Pablo Monsivais
Thomas Burgoine
Tarra Penney
Adam Dickinson
Jasmine Morris
David Vaughan

The development of initial versions of Feat was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through their Impact Acceleration Account (IAA). Feat is currently funded in-kind by the MRC Epidemiology Unit. The Feat development team are grateful to these funders for their support.

Feat is based on data that has been demonstrated to be some of the best publicly-available in England.1 However, we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies.

To contact the Feat development team, email feat-tool@mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk

Technical Notes

Data Sources

Food outlets

Feat is underpinned by food outlet locations from Ordnance Survey's Points of Interest (POI) data. POI data contains information from over 170 suppliers, and is one of the most complete secondary sources of food outlet data in England.1,2 POI data is updated by Ordnance Survey every three months.

The following food outlet types are available to explore in Feat. Each of these food outlet types is based on a grouping of POI use codes, as follows (with descriptions):


1020013 (Cafes, snack bars and tea rooms), 1020025 (Internet cafes), 9470798 (Tea and coffee merchants)

Convenience stores:

9470699 (Convenience stores)


1020043 (Restaurants), 1020034 (Pubs, Bars, Inns)

Specialty outlets:

9470662 (Butchers), 9470665 (Delicatessens), 9470666 (Fishmongers), 9470667 (Frozen foods), 9470668 (Green and new age goods), 9470669 (Grocers, farm shops and pick your own), 9470670 (Herbs and spices), 9470672 (Organic, health, gourmet and kosher foods), 9470705 (Markets), 7400524 (Baking and confectionery), 9470663 (Confectioners)


9470699 (Convenience Stores)*, 9470819 (Supermarket chains)


1020018 (Fast food and takeaway outlets), 1020019 (Fast food delivery services), 1020020 (Fish and chip shops), 9470661 (Bakeries)

*Small-format major national supermarket chain stores only (i.e. Little Waitrose, M&S Simply Food, Morrisons M Local, Sainsbury's Local, Tesco Express and Metro).

The locations of food outlets are provided in POI data as geographic coordinates with a stated precision of 1 metre. This level of spatial accuracy lends credibility to our derived measures of food outlet access.

Resident population

In order to allow standardisation of food outlet counts by resident population, usual resident population data (KS101EW) was used from the 2011 UK Census (LSOA, MSOA and Local Authority levels) alongside mid-2011 population estimates from the Office for National Statistics (County level, Ward level), available here.

Geographic boundaries

Feat displays food access data at six geographic levels: County, Local Authority (LA), middle super output area (MSOA), Ward, lower super output area (LSOA) and Unit postcode. 2011 County, Local Authority, MSOA, Ward and LSOA boundaries were downloaded from UKBORDERS. Postcode boundaries for over 1.5 million English Unit postcodes were were provided by Ordnance Survey (licence number 0100059028), in the form of Ordnance Survey's Code-Point with Polygons dataset.


Using a GIS (ArcGIS 10.4, ESRI), the locations of food outlets (as described above) were mapped according to coordinates provided by Ordnance Survey. These point data were overlaid with geographic boundary data for Counties, LAs, MSOAs, Wards, LSOAs, and Unit postcodes, as described above. With the exception of Unit postcodes, food outlet access in Feat is calculated as the number of food outlets present per administrative boundary (polygon).

For Unit postcodes, food outlet access is calculated as counts of food outlets within a 1 mile straight-line (Euclidean) radius 'neighbourhood' buffer of the geographic centroid of each postcode boundary. In published academic research, this definition of neighbourhood has been associated with food shopping behaviours,3 diet and body weight, 4-6 and this distance could be walked by an average adult in 15 minutes. These counts are then attributed to their respective Unit postcode boundary for display in Feat.

Copyright Notices

This website and its content are copyright of © Ordnance Survey 2017 (100059028). All rights reserved. © National Statistics 2017. All rights reserved. © PointX 2017 (100059028). All rights reserved. © University of Cambridge 2017. All rights reserved. Full copyright acknowledgements are shown at the bottom of the map interface. Terms of use for this website are described in the University of Cambridge Terms and Conditions. Data is provided and use of this website is ‘as is’, neither the MRC Epidemiology Unit or CEDAR accept any liability resulting from misuse or misrepresentation of this websites content.

Any redistribution, reproduction, copying or duplication of part or all of this website and its content is prohibited other than the following:

    You may export static maps (for saving and printing) for non-commercial use only, providing you acknowledge this website and our data providers as the sources of the material as detailed in our FAQs.

You may not distribute or commercially exploit this website and its content. Nor may you transmit or store its content in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.


1. Burgoine T, Harrison F. Comparing the accuracy of two secondary food environment data sources in the UK across socio-economic and urban/rural divides. International Journal of Health Geographics. 2013;12:2-8.

2. Ordnance Survey. Points of interest database: User guide and technical specification. 2016 [updated 18/8/16]; Available From: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/docs/user-guides/points-of-interest-user-guide.pdf.

3. Smith G, Gidlow C, Davey R, Foster C. What is my walking neighbourhood? A pilot study of English adults' definitions of their local walking neighbourhoods. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Activ. 2010;7:DOI:10.1186/1479-5868-1187-1134.

4. Burgoine T, Forouhi NG, Griffin SJ, Wareham NJ, Monsivais P. Associations between exposure to takeaway food outlets, takeaway food consumption, and body weight in Cambridgeshire, UK: population based, cross sectional study. BMJ. 2014;348:1-10.

5. Burgoine T, Forouhi NG, Griffin SJ, Brage S, Wareham NJ, Monsivais P. Does neighborhood fast-food outlet exposure amplify inequalities in diet and obesity? A cross sectional study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016;103:1-8.

6. Cobb LK, Appel LJ, Franco M, Jones-Smith JC, Nur A, Anderson AM. The relationship of the local food environment with obesity: a systematic review of methods, study quality, and results. Obesity. 2015;23:1331-1344.