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The Trussell Trust, an anti-poverty charity that operates a network of food banks across the UK, reported a 37% increase in demand for food parcels between 2021/22 and 2022/23 and another 4% increase between 2022/23 and 2023/24. This continues a general trend of increasing need for food parcels.

How many food banks are there in the UK?

The Trussell Trust distributed parcels from 1,699 locations across the UK in 2023/24 and there are at least 1,172 additional independent food banks. The chart below shows the number of food parcels distributed by the Trussell Trust each year to 2023/24.


London was the region with the highest distribution of Trussell Trust food parcels in 2023/24, followed by the North West of England.

People using food banks

The DWP published food bank data for the first time in 2023. In its Households below average income (HBAI) statistics, it reported that 3% of all individuals in the UK used a food bank in the previous 12 months in 2022/23.

In June 2023 the Trussell Trust published a report on Hunger in the UK. The report examined the causes of hunger in the UK, its impact and what type of people use food banks. Some of the headline findings of the report are:

  • Disabled people make up 26% of the UK population and 69% of people referred to Trussell Trust food banks.
  • People who live in social housing make up 8% of the UK population and 46% of those referred to a food bank. Renters make up 22% of the UK population and 68% of those referred to food banks.
  • 89% of people referred to Trussell Trust food banks receive means tested benefits.

The rising cost of living means more demand for food banks

The Independent Food Aid Network surveyed its food banks in March 2024 and nearly 75% of respondents said they experienced increased demand in November 2023 to January 2024 compared to the same period a year before. 98% of them supported people seeking help for the first time.

Citizen’s Advice helped 19,810 people with food bank referrals in April 2024, up from 15,675 April 2023 and 13,208 in April 2022. Food bank referrals peaked in January 2024, when Citizen’s Advice helped 22,452 people.

The rising cost of living means a fall in food donations. In November 2023 to January 2024, 65% of IFAN organisations reported a drop in food donations and 45% reported a drop in financial donations compared with the same period a year before. The Trussell Trust also reported that some of its food banks were seeing decreased donations in 2023/24. Overall, donations of food to the Trussell Trust in 2023/24 remained at similar levels to the previous year, but since demand has increased, they had to purchase more food than ever before.

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