The Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated food insecurity, according to new research by University of the West of Scotland, as part of the UWS-Oxfam partnership.
The report, ‘Food insecurity in times of Covid-19 – an insight into a deepening crisis’, found three main factors have further aggravated food insecurity during the pandemic.
Rising levels of need driven mainly by income reductions; new and intensified food access challenges; and the effects of the lockdown on the operation of food banks and their important ‘wrap-around’ services, such as mental health support and benefit advice, have had a significant impact.
The report concludes that, despite the best efforts of food banks and other food aid providers, the pandemic has highlighted the emergency food aid sector was ill-equipped to deal with the surge in food insecurity created by Covid-19.
It says that without action to tackle the underlying drivers of the income crisis during the recovery from Covid-19, progress towards achieving the ‘Zero Hunger’ element of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will be more challenging.
The research focused on four demographic groups identified as being most likely to be at higher risk of food insecurity, even in ‘normal times’: the homeless, young carers (someone aged under-18) and young adult carers (aged 16-25), people seeking asylum, and people with disabilities. The report is based on snapshot interviews with frontline support staff and a review of existing evidence.