Almost half (44%) of parents in a new study from lower income families in the UK are skipping meals to ensure their children have enough food to eat, with breakfast being the most common one to miss.
New research* from Aldi reveals that 47% of parents are now experiencing more financial pressure to feed the family compared to six months ago, with almost two in three admitting they are likely to go hungry so their little ones don’t have to. This has led to a third of parents buying less food now than they were 6-months ago, with some of the biggest cutbacks including key breakfast items such as butter, milk, and cereal.
To help ensure parents are getting the food they need, they will be able to access breakfast free of charge at supermarket Aldi’s newly announced Adult’s Breakfast Club. Ahead of the school Easter holidays, when parents are under increased pressure to feed the entire family, the supermarket chain will donate 10 tonnes of healthy cereal and 5,000 gallons of milk and milk alternatives to foodbanks and schools across the country, with the help of charity partner Neighbourly. It will also be doubling down on its existing donations to local schools during term time, as almost a third (31%) of parents surveyed said that they rely on their children being provided breakfast by their school.
The initiative comes as many parents (37%) simply can’t afford a full shop to feed themselves and their family, and are choosing to either skip meals entirely, give children half of their meal, or make larger portions for their children than themselves. Despite these sacrifices, parents who are skipping meals are left feeling sad (32%), like a failure (25%) and tired (22%); made worse as over a quarter (27%) of these children often complain of still being hungry after mealtimes, with no additional food to go around.
With an estimated 2.1 million adults in the UK now using foodbanks**, the outlook for the year ahead is not positive, with 16% of those surveyed estimating that they will have to start using them within the next 6 months. This is supported by findings from giving platform, Neighbourly, who surveyed a selection of charity professionals that work with some of the most vulnerable families in society on a daily basis***.
New data reveals that charity professionals estimate the demand for food provision has increased by 159% in the last 12 months, with almost all (96%) expecting this to increase further in the next year. They estimate that 50% of the parents they work with are regularly skipping meals in order to put food on the table for their children, with 94% agreeing that parents go without as much food during school holidays as they prioritise feeding their children.
The scheme from Aldi comes as 58% of charity professionals agree that there is a lack of breakfast food items being provided to charities and food banks.
Liz Fox, Corporate Responsibility Director at Aldi UK comments: “We believe that having access to healthy food should be a right, not a privilege. The thought that parents are having to skip meals to ensure their children can eat is terrible. Our partnership with Neighbourly to donate surplus food from our stores helps to support the communities where we operate, but we want to be able to help parents too. We hope the Adult Breakfast Club will help provide everyday breakfast essentials to parents who otherwise would be going without.”
Steve Butterworth, CEO of Neighbourly, adds: “We are now seeing the real-world effects of the cost-of-living-crisis, and this is what it looks like. Parents sitting with empty, or half-empty, plates at mealtimes to ensure their children have enough food. Creating a dedicated Breakfast Club to ensure these parents are getting the nutrients they need and deserve is a brilliant initiative and one we hope will make a tangible difference in our community.”