Almost one in ten people in the UK have skipped meals, gone without food to feed their family or relied on family or friends for food in the last year according to new research published today.
The research comes as the retailer prepares to launch the biggest ever food collection appeal in the UK, with the help of food charity FareShare and Foodbanks charity the Trussell Trust.
Help Feed People In Need will take place in more than 800 Tesco stores across the country on December 1st and 2nd and will help provide much needed food for hundreds of thousands of people this Christmas.
The research found that in total, around 10 per cent of people have suffered from some form of food poverty in the last 12 months, with seven per cent of people skipping meals and eight per cent relying on friends or family to provide food.
Significant numbers of parents had also gone without food to feed their children.
Philip Clarke, Chief Executive of Tesco said: “Tesco feeds more families in the UK than any other supermarket, and we work hard to make sure people can eat well even if they don't have a lot of money. This Christmas, we want to use our scale and our links with communities across the country to help tackle this growing problem.
“We recently held some local food collections and were overwhelmed by the support from our customers, who have shown incredible generosity. I hope they'll support the biggest ever food collection in the UK and help us to feed hundreds of thousands of people in need.”
The research shows that:
· In the last 12 months more than one in 20 people have had to skip meals because they could not afford food;
· Nearly half (48 per cent) of the people who said they had skipped meals did so for the first time this year;
· More than half (51 per cent) of the people who said they had skipped meals were forced to go without food for two days or more;
· In the last year almost a quarter (23 per cent) of people had changed their eating habits, buying less expensive food or reducing the amount they eat;
· The research also showed 21 per cent of people had eaten less healthy food, as they believed healthier food was more expensive;
· The main reasons given by people for being unable to buy the food they needed was a rise in the cost of living or low income (56 per cent) or an unexpected bill or expense (20 per cent), while other significant reasons given included paying off debts (15 per cent) and being made redundant or seeing a reduction in working hours (12 per cent).
The research also showed that only a small percentage of people had visited a charity for food, pointing towards a lack of awareness in charities such as FareShare and the Trussell Trust, something Tesco aims to change through the appeal.
Chris Mould, Executive Chairman of Trussell Trust said: “Across the UK Trussell Trust foodbanks are seeing thousands more people in crisis turn to us for help. Every day we meet parents who are skipping meals to feed their children, or people who are forced to choose between eating and heating. This winter is looking particularly bleak as food and energy prices rise whilst incomes remain static. We are delighted that Tesco is working with The Trussell Trust's network of over 280 UK foodbanks and FareShare to help stop people going hungry this Christmas. We'd like to encourage everyone to give a can or two to help make this Christmas a happier one for people in crisis. Thank you.”
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare said: “We are so pleased to be working with Tesco and the Trussell Trust on this campaign. Year-round, FareShare redistributes food to over 700 local grassroot projects in the UK who work tirelessly to provide food and other support to some of the poorest people in our society. In the past year, we provided food for 8.6 million meals and helped feed 36,500 people a day. With the help of Tesco customers, we can provide even more food to people who need it, at a time of real, increasing need. Thank you!”
Details about the collection
Thousands of Tesco staff members, together with Trussell Trust and FareShare volunteers and Tesco Retired Staff Association members will be on hand to help customers who will be given special shopping lists to encourage them to buy everyday food items like cereals, rice, instant coffee, tinned food and sauces. Collections will take place between 9am 6pm in Tesco stores.
Tesco will be utilising their delivery network by transporting food donations to FareShare's 17 regional depots while Tesco colleagues will be holding their own collections at Tesco offices across the UK.
Tesco is the first supermarket to partner nationally with Trussell Trust foodbanks and this pioneering appeal will be the first nationwide food collection for the charity.
The retailer will be topping up total donations by 30 per cent and will also be providing funding to both organisations to help them build on the vital work they do helping people in communities across the country.
As part of Tesco's commitment to helping families and individuals in need, the retailer plans to run further food collections in partnership with the Trussell Trust and FareShare in the coming months to help provide people with food.
Join the Help Feed People In Need appeal on Twitter: #everycanhelps and Facebook: http://en-gb.facebook.com/tesco
The research was carried out by Marketing Sciences using a sample of 2,000 adults across the UK.
FareShare is an award-winning charity fighting hunger and food waste in the UK. It does this by rescuing good quality surplus food that would otherwise go to waste and sending it to over 700 charities and community projects across the country including hostels, day centres, women's refuge centres and children's breakfast clubs.
Last year, through its 17 depots, FareShare contributed food towards 8.6 million meals, feeding 36,500 people a day.
The food FareShare provides saves charities and community projects almost ￡8 million a year, with 81.5% redirecting that money into other support services
For more information on the work FareShare carries out, visit: www.fareshare.org.uk
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. There are almost 300 Trussell Trust foodbanks launched nationwide.
Almost 110,000 people received emergency food from a Trussell Trust foodbank between April September 2012, compared to 128,697 in total during 2011-12 financial year. Since the recession began numbers fed by foodbanks have risen dramatically.
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.
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