More than half of young people (aged 18 to 24) are experiencing food insecurity, according to Australia’s largest food relief organisation, Foodbank.
This year’s Hunger Report found young Australians are limiting the amount they’re eating or opting for cheaper, lower-quality produce, as a result of the cost of living.
About 3.7 million Australian households have experienced some sort of food insecurity this year.
Food insecurity is a term used to describe the experience of having limited options or access to food. This is often due to financial pressures.
Foodbank describes food insecurity as a a spectrum, which can range from anxiety about paying for food, to skipping meals or going days without eating.
Food insecurity can lead to health, dietary and nutritional issues.
Four in five households that experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months had never experienced food insecurity before.
At least one person in 60% of those households has a job. Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey told TDA that food insecurity is also “impacting mid- to high-income earners” for the first time.
“This notion that a job is a shield against food insecurity in Australia, we’ve shot that to pieces,” she said.
Why are more people ‘food-insecure’?
Around 80% of food-insecure households said the cost of living had the biggest impact on their ability to purchase food, up from 64% in 2022.
Casey said “a third of people with mortgages are now experiencing some level of food insecurity. We know that half of renters are experiencing food insecurity as well”.
“If you think you’re alone here, I’m here to tell you, you are not. We are fast approaching a scenario where one in two Australian households will know what food insecurity means.” Brianna Casey, CEO of Foodbank Australia, speaking to TDA.