What is food insecurity?

The experience of the pandemic has shone a harsh light on the fragility of food security within cities worsening existing inequalities in many communities. Food security is an important issue for Birmingham and for cities across the world and it is one where we want to make a united stand.

Food insecurity disproportionally affects the most vulnerable groups of our city. Too many citizens and families have to make difficult choices every week in our city between buying healthy food or paying bills. These choices are the result of wider policies on welfare and living wage employment, but the impacts are clear to see on people’s plates, health and wellbeing.

Key facts:

  • Food insecurity is defined by the FAO as “limited access to food…due to a lack of money or other resources” (FAO, 2017).
  • There are different ways to measure food insecurity in the UK.
  • 24.4% of children and 17.7% of households in the UK experienced food insecurity in January 2023 (The Food Foundation, 2023).
  • 8% of households in the UK experienced food insecurity in 2021 (DEFRA, 2022).
  • Food insecurity is associated with poor diets and health outcomes.
  • 16% of households in the West Midlands are food insecure.
  • 72,932 people in Birmingham were given a food parcel by a Trussell Trust foodbank between April 2022 and March 2023. 24,939 of these were to children. This represents a 42% increase on the previous year and an 84% increase from pre-pandemic levels.
  • In the week beginning 27 March 2023, more than 7,700 people visited a food project in Birmingham, feeding at least 13,400 people (data from the City-Wide Food Aid Count).
  • 6.8% of Birmingham citizens reported using food banks during lockdown.

If you would like to find out more about our projects email: FoodSystemPH@Birmingham.gov.uk.

Page last updated: 25 October 2023

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