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SHOCK REPORT HIGHLIGHTS DESPERATE LEVELS OF FOOD POVERTY IN ‘SQUEEZED’ BRITAIN

05 Mar, 2013

Food poverty in the UK is at a shocking level and is set to get worse, according to new research.

It has found that at least 4.7 million Brits could be described as being in food poverty – having no choice but to spend 10 per cent or more of their household income on food and making bad nutritional choices.

Worryingly, the average household food bill will rocket by £357 by 2017, says a report issued today by Kellogg’s (compiled in association with the Centre for Economics and Business Research).

Money troubles as a result of job losses, rising food prices and benefits changes have led to people spending more on food, but eating less and turning to foodbanks as they struggle to feed themselves and their families.

Kellogg’s has teamed up with foodbank charity Trussell Trust to highlight the issue and has pledged to donate 15 million breakfasts and snacks to people in need by the end of 2016.

The report, which will be sent to politicians, also asks the UK Government to measure and monitor food poverty in a similar way to how it monitors fuel poverty.

As the country is still gripped by the recession, more and more people are going hungry and having to resort to foodbanks, which give out a three-day pack of essentials. Single parent households and pensioners are the most likely groups to be in food poverty.

The poorest households in the UK have cut back on fruit (by 20 per cent) and vegetables (by 12 per cent) as people struggle to afford basic nutritious food.

People are spending more on food, but actually eating less as household spending on food and non-alcoholic drink has increased by almost 20 per cent in the past five years, but the volume of food consumed dropped by a little over seven per cent.

The poorest households in the UK spent almost a quarter of their income (23.8 per cent) on food in 2012 compared with an annual spend of around four per cent by the richest households.

Tough economic times combined with high food prices has led to an increase in foodbank use over the last four years.

The Trussell Trust estimates more than 280,000 people will be fed by their foodbanks in 2012/13.

Chris Mould, chairman of Trussell Trust said: “We welcome this in-depth research by Kellogg’s.

“It provides powerful further evidence that UK food poverty needs serious and urgent attention.

“The research findings are shocking, though perhaps not surprising, and are deeply concerning as they highlight the reduced level of nutrition as well as the reduction of food consumption overall.

“The research reflects what Trussell Trust foodbanks are experiencing on the ground: every day we’re meeting mothers who are skipping meals to feed their children, or people forced to choose between paying the bills or buying food.

“We’ve been working hard to provide nutritionally balanced emergency food to people in crisis and are delighted that Kellogg’s are partnering with us to help stop UK hunger.”

Kellogg’s has also found that four out of five teachers say some of their pupils are coming to school hungry.

It has set up more than 1,000 breakfast clubs helping to provide more than two million breakfasts a year to children in need over the last decade.

In this report, Kellogg’s calls upon other large food manufacturers to do even more to help communities.

Households which have to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on food could be described as being in food poverty, especially if they are cutting back on nutritious food.

Jonathan Myers, managing director of Kellogg’s UK, said: “It is a sad fact that there are people in the UK who cannot afford to feed their families.

“A huge change needs to take place to tackle food poverty and the food industry can play a crucial part by donating more surplus food.

 “Kellogg’s is continuing its work to set up and support more breakfast clubs in vulnerable areas of the country as well as donating food to foodbanks across the UK.

“We’d encourage the whole of the food industry to do more and donate surplus food to help families living in food poverty.”

Hard to Swallow: The Facts about Food Poverty
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