8.9% of Irish Population Experienced Food Poverty in 2021
Report on Food Poverty – Government Programmes, Schemes and Supports published today by the Irish Government shows that in 2021, 8.9% of the Irish population experienced food poverty.
The numbers experiencing the issue had reached a high in 2014 of 13.1%, declined year on year from 2016 to 2019 but reached 12% in 2020.
There is no official food poverty indicator in Ireland. However, in 2012 the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) developed a measure which defined food poverty as the inability to have an adequate and nutritious diet due to issues of affordability or accessibility.
Using this approach food poverty is measured by the percentage of individuals experiencing one or more of the following:
- Unable to afford a meal with meat, or vegetarian equivalent, every second day.
- Unable to afford a weekly roast dinner (or vegetarian equivalent).
- Missing one substantial meal in the last fortnight due to lack of money.
The Report is the outcome of a mapping exercise undertaken by the Food Poverty Working Group to illustrate the breadth of programmes, schemes and supports in place across Government to tackle food poverty.
The Minister of State with responsibility for social inclusion in the Department of Social Protection Joe O’Brien, T.D., established the Working Group on Food Poverty to progress the delivery of a commitment under The Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020 – 2025 to ‘Develop a comprehensive programme of work to further explore the drivers of food poverty and to identify mitigating actions’.
The Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020 – 2025 published in January 2020, is the national strategy for poverty reduction and improved social inclusion. The Roadmap aims to reduce the percentage of the population in consistent poverty to 2% or less by 2025 and to significantly reduce social exclusion in Ireland.
Highlighting that a large number of stakeholders are involved in a variety of initiatives to combat food poverty, Minister O’Brien said, “This report shows the range of work being undertaken by Departments, agencies, schools, and the community and voluntary sector, all funded by Government in 2021 – everything from education on healthy eating, to Hot School Meals, to Meals on Wheels.”
He said, “The report now consolidates the fact that a variety of government Departments have a role to play in addressing food poverty. Ahead of Budget 2023 I will be contacting relevant Ministers requesting that they further develop their roles in addressing food poverty.”