Cost of living crisis bites with struggling Aussies skipping more meals to survive

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Daniel Moorfield

Foodbank’s 2023 Hunger Report, and research undertaken by SecondBite, has revealed how Australians are changing the way they eat just to make ends meet. The findings paint a stark reality of just how many people aren’t coping during the current cost of living crisis.

Foodbank’s Hunger Report 2023 highlights that the number of Australians experiencing food insecurity has risen from 20 per cent (one in five Australians) to 36 per cent (one in three Australians) in just one year, meaning 383,000 more households have now fallen through the cracks.

SecondBite’s research, conducted by YouGov, surveyed more than 1000 people last month and found almost half (48%) of Aussies cut back on or skipped at least one meal a week due to economic/financial reasons.

SecondBite’s CEO, Daniel Moorfield said the issue is rapidly growing and is cause for concern. He said that all of the food relief sector, including SecondBite and its more than 1100 charity partners, are working tirelessly to support those doing it tough.

“We see first-hand that more people are turning to food relief as they run out of options. With one in three Australians now food insecure, our research highlights just how bad the problem is and found, of those skipping meals, four fifths (80%) are increasingly doing this over the past year. Not surprisingly parents and pet owners are putting their dependents first with no choice but to go without themselves,” Moorfield said.

SecondBite’s research found 90 per cent of parents skipping meals are doing this so their kids won’t go hungry and 85 per cent of pet owners stated they would rather cut back on or skip a meal themselves than see their pets go without. It also found that younger Aussies are more likely than Baby Boomers to have to cut back on eating (more than 53% compared to 37% of Baby Boomers).

“We don’t believe people should have to choose who eats in their family when Australia has more than 7.6 billion kilos of food go to waste each year. Each year we rescue almost 25 million kilos of quality fruit and vegetables, pantry items, protein and dairy from going to landfill.”

SecondBite’s research also found 83 per cent of those skipping meals are doing so to afford other important expenses with 89 per cent of Aussies preferring to cut back on or skip a meal than not have a home to live in.

Foodbank’s report found almost all (94%) food insecure households tried to mitigate cost of living pressures by shifting their spend on food and grocery items. Whether by looking for grocery specials or shifting from fresh to frozen or tinned. Yet only a quarter (24%) of food insecure households are actively seeking formal food relief.

“The face of hungry Australians is changing. Today, more working Australians are food insecure, and the number is growing. Our work, along with that of our partners, stops people from having to make tough choices between food and medications, rent or mortgage repayments and heating.”

“For these reasons it is of critical importance that the food relief sector has ample funding to enable it to continue to support the growing number of families in need. By using our services, Australians aren’t forced to go hungry and can allocate their money to cover other pressing needs,” concluded Moorfield.

To read the Foodbank Hunger Report 2023

About SecondBite

SecondBite is Australia’s largest food rescue organisation – providing food free of charge. Last year, we rescued more than 25 million kilograms of unsold, edible food, providing the equivalent of more than 50 million meals to Australians in need. SecondBite works with more than 1100 charity partners, more than 1500 food donors and thousands of generous financial supporters to feed millions of hungry Australians each year. For more information go to

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