News / Food Poverty

Food bank use reaches highest levels yet

New statistics from the Trussell Trust reveal the stark increase in food bank use highlighting yet again that a long-term solution to food insecurity is needed.

Food bank / Catholic Church England / Mazur

Food bank / Catholic Church England / Mazur

New statistics from the Trussell Trust network highlight the growing demand for food banks over the past year. This is in part due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which has led to job losses and destitution across the UK. 

The key findings from this report include:

  • Distribution of emergency food parcels increased by 33% on the previous year with 2.5 million emergency food parcels distributed to people in crisis between 1 April and 31 March 2021.
  • Food banks are providing 128% more emergency food parcels than they were 5 years ago.
  • An average of 2 parcels per minute were distributed to families with children, a year on year increase of 36%.
  • London has seen an 106% increase in the number of food parcels distributed since last year. Making it the only region in the UK where the number of parcels distributed has more than doubled in the last year.
  • The volume of food provided increased by 53% on last year as a result of parcels being redesigned to last seven days instead of three.
  • In Wales one parcel was given to a family every 10 minutes.
  • Northern Ireland saw a 75% increase on the last year, the largest rise across the UK Nations.

These statistics are based on findings from 1,200 food banks supported by the Trussell Trust network but they are just the tip of the iceberg. There are an additional 500 independent food aid providers supported through the Independent Food Aid Network, as well as a range of community food providers that are also seeing similar trends.

Simon Shaw, Head of Food Poverty Programme:

‘These statistics show that our food and welfare systems are broken and food aid alone will not fix them. Families and individuals, no matter their background or circumstances, deserve a right to food so with a clear roadmap out of lockdown we must now develop a roadmap out of poverty. One that maximises incomes and ensures good, healthy food is affordable and accessible for all.’

Read the Trussell Trusts full report here.

Published 22 Apr 2021

Food Poverty: Over 8 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat. Sustain is working with communities, third-sector organisations, local authorities and government, aiming to make sure everyone can eat well.

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