Sustain Food Poverty London Food Poverty Campaign

Food poverty in London

London’s food in numbers

  • 1.9 million Londoners regularly struggled to afford or access food before the Covid-19 pandemic
  • 210,006 emergency food parcels were distributed by 115 Trussell Trust food bank centres across London between April and September 2020 while at least 148 London-based independent food banks, Salvation Army centres and schools distributed emergency food parcels on top of other types of food aid provision
  • People identifying as Black or Black British were significantly overrepresented in those that need to use Trussell Trust food banks (9% vs. 3% of the UK population) 
  • In London, 32% of families are registered for Free School Meals, which is higher than the UK average of 29%
  • Half of families with the immigration status ‘no recourse to public funds’ in the UK say they have had at least one day when their children went without a hot meal because they could not afford it
  • An estimated 200,000 older Londoners are at risk of household food insecurity

How are councils taking action?

  • 22 London councils had Local Welfare Assistance Schemes in place before Covid-19, with 18 of these increasing funding to these schemes in response to the pandemic
  • Only 9 London councils now invest in a meals on wheels service for their borough
  • 16 London councils had a food poverty action plan in place prior to the pandemic, with 13 of these having a multi-sector group responsible for implementing the plan and its recommendations
  • All 33 London councils worked collaboratively with the voluntary and community sector to a significant degree in response to Covid-19 to distribute food aid and alleviate financial hardship
  • 6 councils are now formalising relationships with the voluntary and community sector into new food poverty alliances or food partnerships. This is on top of the existing 15 partnerships and alliances in London
  • 22 London councils have policies that promote access to healthy food retail or limit density of unhealthy food retailers, with 9 of these being a Good Food Retail Plan
  • 18 London councils provided resources including small grants for community growing projects before the Covid-19 pandemic


Figures taken from Response, Resilience and Recovery, 2020. To find out more about what’s going on in your local area, sign up to London Food Link.


Food Poverty: Millions of people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat. We’re working to change that through people-powered projects and campaigns that tackle the root causes of food poverty and ensure everyone has dignified access to healthy, affordable food.

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