This report combines insights from two surveys, bringing together the perspectives of charities and community groups providing front-line food relief as well as individuals experiencing food insecurity. The Foodbank Charity Partner Survey was completed by charities across Australia that source food from the food rescue sector, including Foodbank, OzHarvest and SecondBite. The survey gathered information about each organisation’s food relief activities and beneficiaries. Now in its seventh year, this survey gathered 2,089 responses between December 2018 and May 2019.

The second survey gathered responses from Australians who have experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months. This is the fourth time Foodbank has conducted research amongst those directly affected by food insecurity. The survey explored the prevalence of food insecurity in Australia, as well as the experiences of those living with food insecurity. This survey was conducted in four stages between 1 July and 22 July 2019 and gathered responses from a sample of 1,017 food insecure Australians.

Key findings:

  • Women bear the brunt of food insecurity - more than one in four women in Australia (27%) have experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months. This compares to 18% of men.
  • Australians with a history of personal hardship are more vulnerable to food insecurity - almost half of Australians who have experienced food insecurity in the last year (49%) have gone hungry because of an unexpected bill or expense. Two in five (42%) have experienced food insecurity because they are living on a low income or pension, while one in three (34%) have gone without food so they can pay their rent or mortgage repayments.
  • Food insecurity can cause a significant decline in mental health - seven in ten (70%) food insecure Australians experience high or very high levels of psychological distress compared to only 13% of the general population.
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