Rising food prices are exacerbating poverty rates. Research by the Big Issue highlights that many individuals and families are struggling to afford basic necessities, such as food and heating, and are having to rely on food banks to survive.
The Trussell Trust saw a 40% increase in people seeking help from food banks between April and September 2022. This included 320,000 people who sought help for the first time, taking the total number of food parcels provided to 1.3 million across the UK.
Rural areas are not immune to food poverty though it should be noted that the availability of food banks in rural areas means the figures for food poverty may be even worse than quoted. In 2021-22, 131,232 emergency food parcels were distributed in Wales – figures for Carmarthen show 8,110 food parcels delivered between 1 April 2021 – 31 March 2022, with 4,637 being distributed in Pembrokeshire and a further 4,402 in Powys. These figures are likely to rise further when the latest figures are published in mid-2023.
The cost of living crisis has exacerbated this situation with analysis by The Food Foundation reporting a total of 9.7 million adults experienced food insecurity in September 2022 and The Resolution Foundation predicting an additional 1.3 million people, including 500,000 children in the UK will face absolute poverty over the winter months in 2022/23.