3.7 Million Australian Households Face Food Shortages Amidst Cost-of-Living Crisis

According to Foodbank Australia’s 2023 Hunger Report, around 3.7 million households across the country have experienced food shortages.

Based on a survey of 4,342 people conducted in July, the number of people experiencing food shortage has jumped by 350,000 more than the previous year.

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Among the respondents, around 77 per cent of households said the cost-of-living crisis was the main reason and around 42 per cent agreed that low-income employment and inadequate welfare payments were contributing factors.

The food relief organisation’s CEO Brianna Casey said the number is “more than the total number of households in Melbourne and Sydney combined.”

“I can manage to maintain just enough money to cover myself for the next meal, but all it takes is for one unexpected direct debit or sudden, urgent expense to present itself for this thin safety net to snap and fail,” one of the respondents told the Foodbank.

Findings also show that more than a third of the population either “compromise their meal choice” or are forced to “skip meals or whole days of eating”.

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“We’re seeing a real shift in the nature of people who are struggling to source food and groceries,” Ms Casey said.

“We now have 77 per cent of food-insecure households experiencing it for the very first time. They are younger, they are mid-to-high-income earners and they are people who’ve never been facing these circumstances before,” she added.

Ms Casey said food insecurity would be a spectrum, “it started with feeling anxious about whether or not you’ve got enough food to feed yourself or your family or your loved ones”.

Due to food insecurity, 48 per cent of people reported reducing their purchasing of fresh produce and protein.

“Everyday costs like food and housing are now overwhelming them,” the report said. 

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