UK’s Poorest Skip Meals and Go Hungry, Food Standards Watchdog Reveals

New findings from the Government’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) provides more evidence that the Coronavirus pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on the UK’s poorest population with as many as 10% in England, Northern Ireland and Wales reporting to have used foodbanks in June this year and 9% in July. This is an increase from 7% reported by the FSA for May. Reasons given for foodbank use in July were primarily due to economic hardship, with 25% reporting losing jobs, 27% reporting delays in benefits and 20% saying it was simply due to not having enough money.  

The FSA data also highlighted that those experiencing food insecurity or concerns about food affordability were more likely to resort to eating foods past their use-by-date.

The watchdog also published two reports of quantitative research that found food during the crisis to have been “a continual source of concern and worry” rather than nourishment and security for many families. 

Emily Miles, Chief Executive at FSA, said: “Our research shows that our food habits changed rapidly in lockdown and that food insecurity has become an issue for many people. These findings have implications for many aspects of Government policy such as food safety, nutrition, welfare, health and education.” 

“These reports speak of the brutal reality of being too poor to put a meal on the table and how debilitating this is for households with children,” said Anna Taylor, Food Foundation’s Executive Director. “All scenarios point to a worsening of this bleak situation unless the government acts now.” 

View our COVID-19 tracker in full.