Research brief update: understanding food poverty and the transitional behaviour of vulnerable individuals

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report



Over 10% of the UK population live in ‘persistent poverty’, facing a daily struggle to acquire enough food to eat and experiencing vulnerability on multiple dimensions . Also, four million workers now live in poverty, a rise of half a million over five years . Despite rising demand year-on-year for emergency food aid, the UK Government only recently announced plans to measure food insecurity as part of the Family Resources Survey, with the first set of results expected in March 2021.

To date, UK statistics on food insecurity are largely drawn from the Trussell Trust, who operate approximately 1,200 foodbanks . However, these data exclude the community-based food aid provided by what the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) suggests are about 805 independent organisations. Consequently, this omission conceals the full scale and nuances of food insecurity across the UK.

The research presented here offers a more inclusive picture of individual experiences of living with and through food insecurity. More specifically, it identifies the valued aspects and services offered by community-based, independent food aid providers.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2020


  • Food poverty, food insecurity, poverty, precarity