Cost of Living Crisis Continues to Hit Women Hardest

Tay Bridge

In the latest survey by FareShare, the UK’s largest charity tackling food waste to support social good, a staggering three-quarters of respondents were women. This suggests that women are significantly more likely to access food support from the charity, as they struggle to make ends meet under the ongoing pressure of the cost of living crisis*.

The findings from FareShare have been released at a time when the impact of the cost of living crisis on women is the focus of an enquiry by the Government’s Women & Equalities Committee. FareShare’s data supports evidence that women across the UK are being disproportionately hit by ongoing financial pressures**.

The data is taken from a new survey by FareShare of over 2,500 individuals across the UK who receive food from the charity via a nationwide network of 8,500 charities and community groups.

Whether they are older women suffering loneliness and isolation, single parents with additional caring responsibilities, or simply working mums trying to stretch household budgets to feed their families, the survey shows that women are significantly more likely to need food support from charities and community groups.

In addition, the survey also highlighted how the ongoing crisis was hitting all sections of society, rather than those previous assumed to be those most in need. A significant number of people had a life-limiting health problem or condition; were in employment; had at least one child; had caring responsibilities; and had mental health issues, and all were having to turn to support from local groups.

Charities within the FareShare network that support women and their families say that the cost of living crisis has led to substantially increased numbers accessing food alongside other vital services. Food insecurity fuels both hunger and loneliness, both of which will be felt acutely by women of all ages as winter and the festive season approaches.

Food from FareShare helps charities like The Children’s Kitchen in Bristol, which supports families by working with early years childcare settings in areas of the city with high levels of food insecurity.

Jo Ingleby, director of The Children’s Kitchen says: “All of our work is focused on bringing positive food experiences to children whose families may be facing food inequality. In our Family Food Sessions we spend lots of time talking and listening to the concerns of the families we work with. Mums tell us about the challenges they are facing with high food and energy costs, housing issues and the balance of wanting to provide healthy food for their children but rising food costs. With children born during Covid, these mums haven’t had so many chances to take part in baby groups, so they value the opportunity to get together, share food and support each other.”

George Wright, CEO of FareShare commented: “This survey paints a stark picture of a crisis that shows no signs of easing. The fact that almost 8 out of 10 people accessing food from FareShare via local charities are women is staggering. We can clearly see that the food FareShare redistributes is having a substantial social impact. Charities across the UK are turning food into much needed community support and giving people a vital hand up. However, as the festive season approaches,

we know that many of these women and their families will continue to struggle, potentially facing loneliness and isolation because of food insecurity.

The recent budget did not do anything close to enough to support the millions of people who need help right now. We urgently need the Government to catch up and provide additional funding that will help us get good food that would be wasted to the people that need it.”

With local charities facing huge demand, FareShare needs more support to ensure that good-to-eat food is going to people who need it this winter, not to waste.

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*Of the 2,619 individuals who responded to the survey, 76% were women.

**2023 British Lifestyles Report by Mintel:

About FareShare

FareShare is the UK's biggest charity tackling food waste to support social good. We take good-to-eat surplus food from across the food industry, sort it in our regional warehouses across the UK, and pass it onto a network of over 8,500 charities and community groups. These include school clubs, community centres and pantries, hostels, refuges, older people's lunch clubs, and hospices. Three quarters of the organisations we provide food to, support children and families. During the last financial year, 2022-23, FareShare redistributed the equivalent of nearly 128 million meals - that's 4 meals every second. The 55,000 tonnes of food we redistributed stopped 95,000 tonnes of COe2 going to waste.

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