Millions of households struggling to put food on the table
Monday 17th October 2022 Adelaide: On any given day, over half a million households in Australia are struggling to put food on the table, and disturbingly, those with children are being hardest hit.
Released today, the Foodbank Hunger Report 2022 reveals alarming details surrounding the food insecurity crisis the country is facing.
More than 2 million households in Australia have run out of food in the last year due to limited finances, sometimes skipping meals or going whole days without eating. The report shows that more than 52% of Australian households with children having experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months. This has meant that 1.3 million children have gone hungry during that time.
Unsurprisingly, the rising cost of living is the most common reason why so many are struggling to meet their household food needs, with the cost of food and groceries confirmed as the top cause followed closely by energy and housing costs.
Assumptions that this is affecting only those who are unemployed or homeless are incorrect with the research showing that over half of food insecure households had someone in paid work and a third of households with mortgages have experienced food insecurity.
HUNGER IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Unfortunately, South Australia is once again experiencing a significant increase in the levels of food insecurity, with more than 130,000 South Australian households having experienced severe levels of food insecurity in the last 12 months.
Foodbank SA CEO Greg Pattinson said the last year has been hard for South Australian households, particularly those with children, with the Foodbank Hunger Report further highlighting the troubling reality of child hunger in South Australia.
“It’s hard to read the research and figures, particularly in relation to food insecure children in the state, which revealed that over 78,000 children in South Australia have lived in severely food insecure households in the past year.”
“When we look at the definition of severely food insecure, that is skipping meals or going whole days without eating. Stop and think about that shocking statistic! More than 78,000 children are living in households that have not had enough food to put a meal on the table. These are South Aussie kids that are going hungry.”
“We know how important it is for people to have access to good food, however, the rising costs of living, groceries, fuel, rent and mortgages are putting additional pressure on already struggling households, particularly families” said Mr Pattinson.
The report signals that the problem is only set to get worse with half of all households experiencing difficulty saying that being unable to afford food is happening more often.
“Foodbank SA is determined to continue to support South Australians in need, including through our breakfast and lunch programs in schools. We are now distributing the equivalent of 20,000 plus meals per day, right across the state, but we need to do more.”
According to Foodbank SA, additional food to the equivalent of 5,000 to 7,500 meals per day is needed to meet the current levels of demand here in South Australia.
This Anti-Poverty Week, Foodbank SA is asking for the support of the SA Government, SA businesses and individuals to help them in their mission to feed South Australians in need every day.
- On any given day, over half a million households in Australia are struggling to meet their food needs.
- The term food insecurity covers a range of experiences – from being uncertain about getting enough food and compromising on nutrition right through to disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.
- More than 2 million households in Australia (21%) have experienced severe food insecurity in the last 12 months, which means they actually ran out of food because of financial limitations sometimes skipping meals or going whole days without eating.
- Households with children are being hit harder than others (52% of Australian households with children have experienced food insecurity in the past year) and single parent households are the worst of all (37% severely food insecure).
- The challenge of having adequate and nutritious food is only increasing, with over 50% of food insecure households reporting that being unable to afford food is happening more often this year than last.
- The rising cost of living is the most common explanation for why people are failing to meet their household food requirements (64% of food insecure households). Unpacking this, the cost of food and groceries is the top cause (49%), followed closely by energy (42%) and housing (33%) costs.
- Over half of food insecure households (54%) had someone in paid work.
- Nearly a third of households with mortgages (30%) have experienced food insecurity in the last year. The situation is even worse in regional areas (36% vs 27% in metro areas).
- On a typical day, 306,000 households are receiving assistance from food relief organisations.
In South Australia:
- Over 78,000 children in South Australia lived in severely food insecure households in the past year.
- Over 130,000 households in South Australia were hungry in the last 12 months due to lack of funds, sometimes skipping meals or going whole days without eating.
- Nearly half of food insecure households in South Australia (46%) had someone in paid work.
- 29% of households in South Australia with mortgages have experienced food insecurity in the last year
- The rising cost of living is the most common reason that people in Australia are struggling to put food on the table.
This report presents key findings from the Foodbank Hunger Survey, which was conducted between 11 and 28 July 2022, through an online questionnaire of 4,024 people in Australia aged 18 years or older. The sample was nationally representative by age, gender and location (capital city / rest of state) in each major state, with stratified quotas to ensure all major states have a robust minimum sample size of n=600 or above. The data was weighted to nationally representative proportion of age, gender, state and location (capital city/ rest of state).
The full report can be found at staging.foodbank.org.au.
For National media enquiries:
Rebecca Collins, National Marketing & Communication Manager
M: 0409 786 132
P: 02 9887 4144
For South Australian media enquiries:
Greg Pattinson, CEO, Foodbank SA
M: 0418 842 927
P: 08 8351 1136