3.7 million Australian households face food insecurity
Foodbank Australia’s Hunger Report has revealed millions of households in Australia have experienced food insecurity in the last twelve months.
In the last 12 months, 3.7 million households in Australia have faced food insecurity, which is the equivalent to more than the number of households in Sydney and Melbourne combined, according to the Foodbank Australia Hunger Report 2023.
But what led to 37 percent of the country facing moderate to severe insecurity? Foodbank Australia has claimed that the rising cost of living has been “tipping people over the edge” and found that this is the most common reason for food insecurity in the country in 2023.
“It’s a combination of a number of factors. Being on aged pensions, taking in our granddaughter and great granddaughter due to family violence issues, depletion of any savings and using credit cards to pay for increased expenses like insurances, utilities and clothing,” explained Foodbank Australia.
A total of 79 percent of those in Australia suffering from food insecurity were found to be impacted by increased/ high living expenses. Meanwhile 42 percent were impacted by reduced/ low income or government benefits. A further 16 percent reported having limited access to/ ability to travel and get food, while 26 percent experienced changes in household/ living arrangements, impacting their ability to access food.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Brianna Casey, Foodbank Australia’s CEO said: “This year’s report highlights just how many households are experiencing food insecurity for the very first time, and how reluctant these people are to ask for help, despite how urgently they need food relief.
“It’s clear the cost-of-living crisis is exacerbating the challenges facing those in vulnerable circumstances, and forcing people to make compromises on what and when they are eating.”
As a way to cope with the effects of the cost of living crisis, many Australian’s implemented strategies including 94 percent shifting their spend on food and grocery items in the last 12 months. In addition 62 percent adjusted their spend on housing and finance in the last 12 months, while 58 percent altered their spend on energy in the last year in order to access food.
Although many Australian’s have adopted coping strategies, as living expenses continue to surge, individuals and families grapple with the challenging decision of compromising their meals and overall well-being.
Some may argue that Foodbank Australia’s report underscores the need for comprehensive support systems and a national conversation on addressing the root causes of food insecurity and the broader issue of affordability in Australia.