ONE-THIRD of the UK population struggles to pay for food, with almost a quarter saying that growing food prices remain one of the main causes of stress.
A survey commissioned by the consumer group Which? showed that more than half the population are concerned about how to pay for their groceries if food prices continue to soar.
The Which? research shows eight in ten shoppers (78%) are concerned about the increasing cost of food.
About the same number (77%) say their household income has stayed the same or decreased in the past twelve months.
Nearly half (45%) say they spend a larger proportion of their income on food compared to 12 months ago.
The average weekly household grocery bill is £60; it’s £80 for a family of four. Two-thirds of people say this has increased in the past year, blaming rising food prices.
Shoppers are most aware of ‘staples’, such as meat, fresh vegetables and bread, increasing in price, found the survey.
Figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show food prices have risen above general inflation by 12.6% in the past six years, amid income stagnation.
The poll found that 60% are worried about how they will manage their future spending on groceries if prices continue to rise, while, 41% described the rising cost of food as a source of stress.
Almost a third (29%) say they are struggling to feed themselves or their family because of the cost.
‘While people seem to have accepted their grocery bill going up, stagnating incomes and rocketing food prices are causing stress and worry and leaving people wondering how they are going to cope,’ said Which? executive director Richard Lloyd.
‘Stagnating’ incomes meant people were finding it harder and harder to buy food, he said.
Chris Mould, Chairman of the Trussell Trust food bank charity, said the number of people who are dependent on food banks to survive has increased by 200% in the first quarter of this financial year compared to last year.
‘The fact that one in three consumers say they struggle to feed themselves is seriously worrying. Food insecurity on this scale across the UK warrants urgent political attention.
‘Until progress is made, the Trussell Trust food banks expect to provide an essential helping hand in times of crisis for an increasing number of people.’