One in five parents struggling to feed their children

One in five parents in the UK is struggling to feed their children, new research has revealed. The research shows more than twenty per cent of parents have skipped meals, gone without food to feed their children or relied on family members or friends for food in the last twelve months.

One in five parents in the UK is struggling to feed their children, new research has revealed.

The research shows more than twenty per cent of parents have skipped meals, gone without food to feed their children or relied on family members or friends for food in the last twelve months.

The research, carried out by Tesco, the Foodbanks charity the Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity FareShare comes as the three organisations prepare to hold the biggest ever food collection in the UK on the 5 and 6 July.

70% of families suffering from food poverty with children in primary school education rely in some part on food supplied by schools, either through free school meals or food given out by breakfast or after school clubs. The upcoming school summer holidays could now see a large number of children going hungry.

More than a quarter of parents suffering from some form of food poverty said they were unable to provide food for all the meals their children need during the school holidays.

The research also shows the problem of food poverty is unlikely to improve in the near future, with only a third of people currently suffering from food poverty expecting their situation to improve in the next twelve months.

Rebecca Shelley, Group Corporate Affairs Director at Tesco said: “This research reveals that since our last national food collection in December, the problem of food poverty in the UK has increased and shows no signs of improving. It’s hitting families hard, especially when resources like free school meals, breakfast clubs and after school clubs are not available.

“Because we have stores in so many communities across the UK, we are working with the help of our customers, thousands of our colleagues and volunteers from the Trussell Trust and FareShare to help provide emergency food to people who are struggling.”

The National Food Collection will take place in every Tesco store in the country and will help provide much needed food for the Trussell Trust foodbank network and the 900 UK charities supported by FareShare.

Tesco held its first national collection in December last year, raising the equivalent of 2.4 million meals for people in need. Like December, the retailer will be topping up total donations by a further 30%.

Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare said: “FareShare supports more than 900 frontline charities across the country by providing them with good quality, nutritious food. These charities offer not only a meal, but invaluable support to some of the poorest people in our society. Alarmingly, more than a third of these are organisations like breakfast and after school clubs that help feed vulnerable children.

“This collection comes at a crucial time. We fed more people than ever before last year but the demand for our services is rapidly increasing, as more people turn to charities for food than at any other time in FareShare’s history. Thanks to the generous support of Tesco and their customers, we’ll be able to provide them with even more at a time of urgent need.”

Chris Mould, Chairman of the Trussell Trust said: "That one in five parents in this country are struggling to afford food for their families and thousands more people are turning to foodbanks for emergency food is a stark reminder of how tough things have become for many ordinary people. Trussell Trust foodbanks have recently seen the biggest ever increase in numbers turning to us for help - almost 350,000 people received three days emergency food in 2012-13, 170 per cent more than the previous year.

“We're meeting parents who've gone hungry for days in order to feed their children, and school holidays are always especially difficult with many budgets stretched to breaking point. Our foodbanks across the UK are working tirelessly to meet the growing demand and the Tesco collection will provide vital supplies to help stop families going hungry this summer.”

The research:

  • 18% of people in the UK have suffered from some form of food poverty, including skipping meals, parents going without food to feed their children or relying on family or friends to provide food. The figure rises to 21% for households with children;
  • The problem of food poverty is higher in 18-24 year olds with 44% of this age group saying they had experienced some form of food poverty in the last six months.
  • School holidays are a particularly difficult time for families, with more than a quarter of parents saying they can’t provide food for all the meals their children need.
  • More than four in five parents in food poverty worry that they will struggle to provide nutritious food for their children in the near future and more than 50% of these parents have gone without food to feed their family, with a quarter of doing so on a weekly basis or more often.

The National Food Collection:

  • Every Tesco store in the UK will be taking part in the collection. For the first time, Tesco Express stores will be joining the collection and customers who prefer to shop for their groceries online will also be able to donate.
  • Tesco will also be rolling out permanent collection points in some of its stores, so that customers can donate food year round.
  • Like last December’s collection, Tesco will be topping up total donations by a further 30%,
  • Tesco colleagues, volunteers from FareShare and the Trussell Trust and members of the Tesco Retired Staff Association will be helping customers donate food on the 5 and 6 July.


For media enquiries on the Help Feed People in Need Appeal please contact Matt Francis in the Tesco press office on 01992 644 645/ or Devries SLAM on 0207 067 0025/

For media enquiries on the Trussell Trust and information on case studies, please contact Molly Hodson in the Trussell Trust press office on 01722 580 182 or via email:

For media enquiries on FareShare and information on case studies, please contact Shakira Silvestri in the FareShare press office on 0207 394 2460 or via email:

Join the Help Feed People in Need appeal on Twitter: #everycanhelps and Facebook:

Notes to editors

Research was carried out by The Source research agency using a sample of 2,000 adults across the UK.

About FareShare:

  • FareShare is a unique charity fighting hunger and its underlying causes by redistributing surplus food to hundreds of local charities across the UK.
  • By ensuring good food is not wasted, we turn an environmental problem into a solution, helping to feed thousands of vulnerable people every day.
  • FareShare has been operating since 2004 as an independent charity and today has 17 locations across the UK that provide food to more than 900 local charities, including homeless shelters, children’s breakfast clubs and luncheon clubs for the elderly.
  • Last year we redistributed 4,200 tonnes of food, enough to feed 43,700 people every day, saving each charity an average of £13,000 a year and food businesses 1,850 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
  • By creating a value chain directly between the food industry and people in need, we are unique in fighting hunger by tackling food waste. Find out more at

About the Trussell Trust:

  • The Trussell Trust’s award-winning UK foodbank network partners with churches and communities to provide three days nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people in crisis.
  • Over 90% food given out by foodbanks is donated by the public. Every foodbank recipient is referred by a frontline care professional such as a doctor, social worker or schools liaison officer.
  • Three new Trussell Trust foodbanks are launching every week. The Trussell Trust has launched over 350 foodbanks nationwide.
  • Almost 350,000 people received three days’ emergency food from a Trussell Trust foodbank in 2012-13, compared to 128,697 in total during 2011-12 financial year – the biggest increase ever.
  • Less than 5% of foodbank clients are homeless, many are working families struggling to make ends meet.
  • The Trussell Trust’s vision is that every town should have a foodbank, creating a nation where no-one needs to go hungry.
  • For more information on the work carried out by the Trussell Trust visit:

For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on
01992 644645

We are a team of over 530,000 people in 12 markets dedicated to bringing the best value, choice and service to our millions of customers each week. Our core purpose is 'we make what matters better, together'.


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