New research for the Trussell Trust published this week shows the extent of hunger in the UK. Some 14% of all UK adults (or their households) have experienced food insecurity in the 12 months to mid-2022. The research shows that certain groups of people are more at risk, the drivers pushing people towards hunger, and how this leads to further issues, including isolation, debt and health problems. Reports of findings and study technical details are published on the Trussell Trust’s website. Survey datasets will also be available on the UK National Data Archive.
‘Hunger in the UK’ is the most in-depth study on hunger, its causes, impacts and who is affected, in the UK to-date and evidences the main driver as a lack of money. The research shows that certain groups of people are more at risk, the drivers of hunger, and how this leads to further issues, including isolation, debt and health problems.
The research also finds that while around 7% of the UK population were supported by charitable food support, including food banks, most people facing hunger (71%) had not yet accessed any form of charitable food support.
Furthermore, paid work does not always protect people from having to use food banks. One in five people using food banks in the Trussell Trust network are in a working household. Just under a third (30%) of people in work who have had to use a food bank, are in insecure work such as zero hours contracts or agency work.
Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust, says:
Being forced to turn to a food bank to feed your family is a horrifying reality for too many people in the UK, but as Hunger in the UK shows, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Millions more people are struggling with hunger. This is not right. Food banks are not the answer when people are going without the essentials in one of the richest economies in the world. We need a social security system which provides protection and the dignity for people to cover their own essentials, such as food and bills.
Reports of findings and study technical details are published on the Trussell Trust’s website.
The study was a mixed methods study involving a national survey of UK adults on the Ipsos UK KnowledgePanel, an in food bank self-completion survey of people referred to food banks, and qualitative research with people referred to food banks.
The survey was conducted by Ipsos via a random probability online panel.
Fieldwork took place between May and August 2022. The overall response rate was 58%, with 3,948 surveys completed in total. Data are weighted to be representative of the UK population.
Food Bank Survey
Surveys were distributed through 99 food banks in the Trussell Trust network between May and August 2022. These food banks were chosen to reflect geographical spread and a range of other food bank characteristics. Survey packs were placed in food parcels at random, with multiple options provided for completing the survey: on paper, online or over the phone. Multiple languages were available via the online and telephone options. The overall response rate was 20%, with 2,563 surveys returned. Data are weighted to be representative of UK food bank users.
- Ipsos conducted 90 minute qualitative interviews with 50 people who had completed the food bank survey, recruited based on a sample frame. All interviewees had been going without two or more essentials, meaning they are experiencing destitution – the most severe form of material hardship. Thirty people also took part in a second, 45 minute interview, three months after their first. All qualitative data was coded and analysed within a developed thematic framework and written up in a qualitative report.
- Participatory workshops were also undertaken with people with lived experience. Four food banks hosted workshops, selected from the sample of 99 who distributed surveys. This ensured UK-wide coverage and urban/rural spread. In total 42 people with lived experience of financial hardship participated.