The report combines insights from two surveys, bringing together the perspectives of charities providing frontline food relief as well as individuals experiencing food insecurity.
The Foodbank Charity Partner Survey was deployed to charities across Australia and gathered information about each organisation’s food relief activities and beneficiaries. In its sixth year, this survey gathered 1,710 responses between December 2017 and April 2018.
The second survey was deployed to Australians who have experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months. This is the third time Foodbank has conducted research amongst those directly affected by food insecurity. The survey explored the prevalence of food insecurity in Australia as well as the experiences of those living with food insecurity. This survey was conducted in three stages between 25 July and 6 August 2018 and gathered responses from a core sample of 767 food insecure Australians.
Despite our reputation as the “lucky country” the issue of hunger exists in Australia but is largely going unnoticed.
All around Australia there are people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. In fact, in the last 12 months, more than four million Australians (18% of the population) have been in a situation where they have run out of food and have been unable to buy more. Of these, more than three in four (76%) are categorised as having very low food security.
The charities and community groups that work with Foodbank provide food relief to over 710,000 Australians every month, 26% of whom are under the age of 19.
Despite this, these organisations are struggling to keep up with demand as 49% of charities report the number of people seeking food relief continues to increase year on year. In the last 12 months, the proportion of food insecure Australians seeking food relief has increased from 46% to 51%, the equivalent of 384,000 people. With their current resources, charities are having to turn away 7% of the individuals seeking food relief every month. Only 36% of charities feel they are meeting the full needs of the people they do assist.
For South Australia, Foodbank have seen a 14% increase in the requirement for food relief in the last 12 months, with now more than 117,000 South Australians accessing food relief every month.
The report shows how easy it is for someone to fall into food insecurity, given the rising cost of living. Financial demands, including bills, rent and mortgage repayments cause stress for many Australians.
It also highlights that Australians living in regional or remote areas are more likely to experience food insecurity. In fact, Australians in regional and remote areas are 33% more likely to experience food insecurity than those living in major and capital cities (22% compared to 17% respectively). This means more than 1.5 million country Australians have experienced food insecurity in the last year.
Living in a regional or remote area often means it is harder to access food. One in six people living in the country (17%) suggest they don’t have easy access to food shops compared to one in 10 (10%) in the city. Those experiencing food insecurity in the country are also more likely to feel socially isolated compared to those living in the city. Only a third of Australians in the country (34%) feel they can talk to their friends and family when they cannot afford to buy enough food (compared to 43% of those living in major and capital cities).
Foodbank South Australia’s figures
More than 117,260
people rely on Foodbank South Australia’s services every month