As research shows more than a quarter have found it harder to feed their families over the last year, Tesco, the Trussell Trust and FareShare launch the UK's biggest ever food collection.
As Christmas approaches and temperatures start to plummet, new research published today reveals that more than one in four people in the UK have skipped meals, gone without food to feed their family, or relied on family or friends to provide food over the last year.
The research showed that 40 per cent of households across the UK have seen their situation worsen over the last year and just over a quarter say that they have struggled to buy the same amount of healthy and nutritious food that they did 12 months ago.
The research, carried out by Tesco, foodbanks charity the Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity FareShare, comes as the three organisations prepare to hold the Neighbourhood Food Collection, the biggest ever food collection in the UK from 29 November to 1 December 2013.
The cold weather and the pressure of providing at Christmas, combined with the continued rise of fuel and living costs, means that over a third of UK households will resist putting the heating on to ensure that food is readily available for the family. For those who have experienced food poverty things are even more difficult, with more than 60 per cent admitting that they will go cold to provide food.
Despite the challenges that many face, the generosity of the British public is stronger than ever and in the last year Tesco shoppers have helped to donate a total of 5.9 million meals. Liverpool comes top of the list, with two stores in the city donating more food than any other stores, followed by stores in Falkirk and Newcastle. As with previous collections, Tesco will be topping up total donations by a further 30 per cent.
Chris Bush, Tesco UK Managing Director said:
"Signs are that the economy is improving, but we know that consumers are not feeling it in their pockets just yet. This research shows how hard it has been for some families over the last twelve months, and we know that those on the lowest incomes in particular struggle to meet the cost of rising household bills. We want to use our scale for the benefit of the communities we serve and through our Neighbourhood Food Collection we are working with charities that are supporting the most vulnerable. The support for our previous two collections has been incredible and I've been impressed by the spirit of communities across the UK who have been so generous in donating."
The Neighbourhood Food collection will take place in every Tesco store in the country and will help to provide much needed food for the for the 400 foodbanks in The Trussell Trust foodbank network and the 1,000 UK charities supported by FareShare. Volunteers from the British Red Cross will be supporting FareShare volunteers this year in Tesco stores for the first time.
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare said:
"This shocking research confirms what we're seeing on the ground; people across the country are finding it incredibly tough. We're now supporting more than 1,000 frontline charities that offer a hot meal and invaluable support to 51,000 people every day. Alarmingly, one in five people turning to these charities for help are children under the age of 16. As the cold weather sets in it becomes even harder, as people struggle to keep warm and provide enough food for themselves and their loved ones. Support for this collection is vital in ensuring we can provide our charities with even more food just in time for Christmas."
Chris Mould, Chief Executive, Trussell Trust, said:
"The deeply distressing reality for Britain this Christmas is that thousands of families will struggle to put food on the table. 60,000 people are likely to receive emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks in the two weeks over Christmas alone, including 20,000 children. We're already meeting parents who are choosing between eating and heating, and rising fuel prices mean that this winter is looking bleak for people on the breadline. With substantial numbers financially worse off than last year and more people turning to foodbanks than ever, the generosity of Tesco shoppers at this weekend's collection will be crucial in helping stop hunger this Christmas."
The launch of the collection coincides with the publication of the latest dunnhumby consumer confidence tracker, which shows that while consumer confidence in the UK overall is improving, lower income families continue to feel under greater financial pressure and remain concerned about their future economic situation. The report found that 33 per cent of lower income consumers are worried about job security, 33 per cent are concerned about mortgage or rental payments and 53 per cent are worried about household bills.
• 20 per cent of people have skipped a meal in the past 12 months as a result of not being able to afford food.
• This figure rises dramatically amongst those who have experienced food poverty, with 66 per cent having had to skip a meal on more than once occasion.
• A third of those who have experienced food poverty have gone hungry in order to feed their family.
• More than 20 per cent of the population are worried about how some of their family members, friends or neighbours will be able to feed themselves this winter.
• 20 per cent of people who have experienced food poverty would donate to a food collection, food bank of a charity even though they are struggling themselves.
Most food donations per store based on the previous two food collections held by Tesco, Trussell Trust and FareShare:
1. Liverpool, Allerton Road Superstore – 31,367 meals
2. Liverpool, Park Road Extra – 29,704 meals
3. Falkirk, Grahams Road Superstore – 21,278 meals
4. Falkirk, Redding Road Superstore – 20,690 meals
5. Newcastle Extra – 19,538 meals
6. Wirral, Bidston Moss Extra – 18,792 meals
7. Rugby, Rugby Superstore – 18,599 meals
8. Worthing, West Durrington Extra – 18,412 meals
9. London, Hammersmith Superstore – 17,899 meals
10. Stockport, Handforth Extra – 17,603 meals