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Hunger in the UK: New data published by the Trussell Trust reveals the scale and drivers of hunger and food bank needs across the UK

By Adam Nicholls, Senior Policy Researcher at the Trussell Trust

The Trussell Trust supports a network of more than 1,300 food bank centres who distributed 1.5 million emergency food parcels to people facing hardship between 1 April and 30 September 2023, the most ever for this period.

The charity regularly publishes research aimed at better understanding the scale and drivers of hunger and food bank needs across the UK. In June 2023, the Trussell Trust published Hunger in the UK, the first report in a series of three landmark studies which will track and examine the scale and drivers of hunger across the UK over a three-year period. Carried out in partnership with Ipsos, the study draws on two quantitative surveys and 50 in-depth qualitative interviews.

To better understand the drivers of food bank need across the UK the data allows for the comparison of three core groups:

  1. People across the UK experiencing food insecurity
  2. People across the UK using any form of food aid; and
  3. People referred to food banks in the Trussell Trust network.

The data comes from two near-identical surveys: one of the UK general population (4,000 respondents including boosts to people in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales) and another of people referred to food banks in the Trussell Trust network (2,500 respondents).

The datasets contain more than 300 variables covering demographic information, benefit receipt, ill health and disability, debt, adverse life experiences, social contact and support, care experience, destitution, mental wellbeing and more.

The data reveals that 14% (11m) of people in the UK are facing hunger and that this is having a significant negative impact on their health and wellbeing. It also identifies several groups of people who are at a much higher risk of needing to access a food bank, such as carers, disabled people, families with children, ethnic minority groups and people who are LGBTQ+.

Thomas Weekes, Senior Research Manager at the Trussell Trust, said: “This data allowed us to conduct the most in-depth exploration into the scale and drivers of hunger and food bank need to date. Although we have worked with the data, we know that there is further impactful analysis that could be carried out to better understand the patterns of food banks across the UK. We are hoping that by sharing the data and adding it to the UK Data Service’s collection, people will have the opportunity to delve even deeper into the data, uncover new insights, and add to the understanding of the drivers of need for food banks across the UK.”

Further information

The data, along with the documentation, can be accessed via the UK Data Service catalogue. For more information on this project, or if you would like to discuss potential analyses of the data, please contact Adam Nichols, Senior Policy Researcher at the Trussell Trust via

The Trussell Trust. (2023). Hunger in the UK, 2022. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 9110, DOI: