Food bank use in the UK revealed

New research by food charity Independent Food Aid Network has shown that there are at least 2,000 food banks operating in the UK, far greater than previous headline figures have indicated.

The Trussell Trust recently reported that 2016/17 was the ninth successive year in which demand for food banks had risen, with the network giving out a record 1.2 million food parcels to families and individuals in need over the last year.

However, the Independent Food Aid Network research suggests that food bank provision is higher, suggesting that there are at least 651 grassroots food banks operating independently of the Trussell network, therefore not included in the previous findings. This ranges from small oluntary groups that give out a few food parcels each week, to larger charity operations that hand out thousands of parcels to hundreds of clients each year.

Seen by the Guardian, the study combines the 1,373 Trussell distribution centres alongside the 419 food banks and 651 independent centres to reach 2,024 food banks in the UK. But while it can more accurately total the number of operating food banks, it cannot measure the volume of food aid provided.