A fifth of adults in Ireland worry over food budget

Half of teachers surveyed see children arriving to school hungry



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18 May 2015

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Food poverty is still a harsh reality for many families in Ireland with a fifth (22%) 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%) concerned over their food budget.

A report by Kellogg’s entitled ‘Is the Food Divide Getting Bigger?’* reveals that the food poverty rate among lowest income households is as high as 11% while only 4% 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.

Teachers are also seeing the impact of food poverty in their schools with 53% of those surveyed noticing children arriving at school hungry at least once a week. More shockingly, 77% 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% of parents have mentioned concerns over their ability to make their food budget stretch to the end of the week, while 20% 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, report contributor, economist, Jim Power said: “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.”

The report outlines a number of measures which would address the issue of food poverty among those affected. These include policy makers working with NGOs to address food poverty and material deprivation in a meaningful way. The school meals programme also needs further funding to ensure that schools in areas of need can meet demand, through breakfast clubs and school lunches.

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.” In 2015, Kellogg’s will be donating 2 million servings of cereal to children and families in Ireland through partnerships with Barnardos and Crosscare.

*(Source: National Omnibus Survey – A nationally representative survey of 3,011 adults aged 16+ were interviewed face to face by Behaviour & Attitudes’ field team, between 20 March and 26 April 26 2015)

**(Source: Teachers Survey – A survey of 408 teachers was carried out via B&A’s online panel, Acumen Online)




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