BFBD - Food Poverty Report: A fifth of Adults in Ireland Worry over Food Budget
Families with young children more likely to feel pressure over money for food
Half of teachers surveyed see children arriving to school hungry
Ireland’s Food Divide: Low-income families worst affected
Food poverty is still a harsh reality for many families in Ireland with a fifth (22 per cent) of adults worried over the amount of money they have to spend on food. Families with primary school children are more likely to feel the pressure with a third (33 per cent) concerned over their food budget.
A report by Kellogg’s “Is the Food Divide Getting Bigger?” reveals that the food poverty rate among lowest income households is as high as 11 per cent while only 4 per cent of highest income groups cite food poverty as an issue. It is clear that despite signs of an economic recovery, lower income families are not seeing any improvement and there is a danger that those marginalised will remain behind.
Teachers are also seeing the impact of food poverty in their schools with 53 per cent of those surveyed, noticing children arriving at school hungry at least once a week. More shockingly, 77 per cent of teachers said, the number of children coming to school hungry has increased in the last 12 months.
Half of the teachers surveyed also report that 36 per cent of parents have mentioned concerns over their ability to make their food budget stretch to the end of the week, while 20 per cent struggle to fund their family food budget over the weekend.
One in five households with children has even had to change their eating habits due to financial constraints.
Commenting on the findings of the report June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos said “We see parents struggling daily to provide enough food for their family and know parents often sacrifice having meals themselves to ensure their children are fed. Arriving to school hungry affects children’s behaviour and mood impacting on their ability to learn and enjoy interactions with classmates and teachers. If hungry children aren’t given support to thrive it can also have a knock-on effect on the wider class. More widespread availability of breakfast clubs is needed as they are a proven way to help tackle the issue of food poverty.”
Commenting on the findings, report contributor, Economist, Jim Power said: “This report demonstrates that food affordability and food poverty are still issues for many. The overall trend in expenditure on food has reduced since 2008, from a high of €7.95 billion, reflecting the fact that many people have suffered income losses and quite simply do not have as much money to spend on food or anything else for that matter. Those on fixed and low incomes have been most badly affected.”
The report outlines a number of measures which would address the issue of food poverty among those affected, these include;
Policy makers must now work with NGO’s to address Food Poverty and material deprivation in a meaningful way
Greater support is required for food banks and local charities
The school meals programme need further funding to ensure that schools in areas of need can meet demand, through breakfast clubs and school lunches
Education in schools has to be is focussed on food education and the importance of teaching cooking skills
Industry has a role to play in finding collective solutions to food poverty
Jim McNeill, Managing Director of Kellogg’s in Ireland said: “Kellogg’s is committed to doing all it can to help to tackle food poverty and to support communities at risk. We have a track record of supporting over 120 breakfast clubs in Ireland, over the past three years, this is something we will continue to do to ensure that all families can get a proper start to their day. Acknowledging and addressing the Food Divide now could create a buffer against the legacy of food poverty in our communities.”
In 2015 Kellogg’s will be donating 2 million servings of cereal to children and families in Ireland through our partnerships with Barnardos and Crosscare.
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Note to Editors:
 National Omnibus Survey
A nationally representative survey of 3,011 adults aged 16+ were interviewed face to face by Behaviour & Attitudes’ field team, between March 20th and April 26th 2015. Quotas were set on gender, age and social class within region, to ensure the results correctly reflect the known demographics of the adult population of the Republic of Ireland, in line with latest CSO estimates. Interviewing took place at 189 separate points across the country
A survey of 408 teachers was carried out via B&A’s online panel, Acumen Online. Fieldwork took place 16th – 30th April 2015. 24% of the responding sample were from Deis schools, broadly reflective of the national picture.
All aspects of both surveys are implemented in accordance with the technical and ethical guidelines set down by the Association of Irish Market Research Organisations (AIMRO) and the European Society of Opinion & Market Research (ESOMAR).
The economic analysis contained in the report was provided by Economist, Jim Power.
About Kellogg’s in Ireland
Before the end of 2016 Kellogg’s aims to provide 1 billion servings of cereal and snacks, more than half of which are breakfast, to children and families in need around the world. In 2015 we will be donating two million servings of cereal to children and families in need in Ireland. Kellogg’s has also supported 120 school breakfast clubs in Ireland through the Help Give a Child a Breakfast campaign. Kellogg’s has donated food and money to these clubs and has seen what a difference they can make.