Child Hunger in London

The London Food Board has worked with Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute to provide a snap shot of child hunger and food poverty in the capital.

The London Food Board has worked with Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute to provide a snap shot of child hunger and food poverty in the capital. We interviewed over 500 parents and 500 children, at all income levels and across London, and complemented this with in-depth case studies of five families to understand the impact that hunger has on their lifestyle.

The research found that in times of economic uncertainty, parents in London are finding it increasingly difficult to afford food; over half (55%) of parents have seen their ability to afford food worsen over the past year, compared with seven per cent who have seen it improve. Key findings of the new research are:

  • A third of children report at least sometimes having trouble paying attention at school because they feel hungry;
  • For 10 per cent of children their school lunch is the biggest meal of the day;
  • Nine per cent (equivalent to 74,000 children) said they sometimes or often go to bed hungry;
  • 44 per cent of families have cut back on fresh fruit and vegetables over the past year;
  • 37 per cent of parents supported a proposal to use free vouchers for healthy food;
  • The families who took part in the in-depth research felt that food prices in supermarkets are too high;
  • They see food banks as a last resort, with only 23 per cent willing to make use of free food provided;
  • Families are keen on closer co-operation between policy makers and supermarkets, as well as the need for them to do more to avoid unnecessary food waste.

Suzanne Hall, Research Director at Ipsos MORI, said:

"This project shone a light on the myriad factors that give rise to food poverty and the damaging impacts it can have - not only on the health of both children and their parents, but also on their emotional wellbeing. We're pleased that the families across London who took the time to tell us their views on what was an undoubtedly difficult issue for them to discuss have been listened to, and that plans are in place to address some of the problems parents face in feeding their family."

Technical note Ipsos MORI interviewed 522 children aged 8-16 and 522 parents of children aged 8-16 in London. The interviews were conducted face-to-face, at the home of respondents, between 28th February – 9th March 2013. Findings are representative of the child and adult population in London in terms of gender and social class.  

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