"Food needs of the general population" Survey by Food Bank

Food needs of the general population

Survey on the needs of the soup kitchens supported by the Food Bank of Athens

The main function of the Food Bank is to redistribute food to meet food needs, while reducing food waste, which is high in Greece. Food that, while suitable for consumption, cannot be absorbed by the market, together with food purchased through special purpose donations, is offered free of charge to soup kitchens and institutions.

Every day, we are in contact with the needs of the soup kitchens, which bring us the difficulties of the people they help. So we are trying to get a better understanding of the problems that exist so that we can be more effective in our mission. This issue presents the results of the survey conducted in the summer of 2023. In addition, official Eurostat statistics are also provided, but these relate to last year and previous years.

Undoubtedly, thousands of people turn to soup kitchens and other organisations because they are in need. The situation has improved compared to previous years. However, the number of these people is still large. On our part, as is done in other countries in Europe, we have developed a network of 7 Food Banks in key points of the country. In this way we can know and better serve local needs by managing the donations of products we find in the different regions of the country.

For example, in 2022 we managed to move 2,172 tonnes of products for more than 110,000 people across Greece, with the support of 182 companies and in cooperation with 324 soup kitchens and other charities. In relation to the problems, our possibilities are limited, but the results of our efforts are – I think – significant.

The Food Bank is an independent and self-governing charitable institution, established in 1995 and operating without ever having received any state or Community funding. It participates as an equal member of the Federation of European Food Banks (FEBA), which supports us in our efforts, and we thank them very much. We would like to thank all the charitable foundations, companies and individuals who support us for our operation, as well as all the food companies – producers, retail chains and traders – who trust us with their products.

The food pantry ecosystem has been operating for years, silently. From time to time, some publications highlight the effort being made, but it generally remains unseen, especially by the state. Many times, it is able to better identify people in need, and help them more flexibly. We hope that this work will be useful material for more synergies, because unfortunately, the needs are still many.

Dimitris Nedas

Director General

Data from Eurostat

Eurostat EU-SILC survey [ILC_MDES03]

1 in 10 people in Greece face food insecurity

1 in 3 people living below the poverty line cannot eat properly

Food Bank Survey

Conducted using a questionnaire, 27.6 to 17.7.2023

People who go to soup kitchens have very low incomes – for various reasons – and the difficult family situations they face put even more pressure on family income, eventually leading to a situation of food insecurity.

The Food Bank accepts food donations from companies whose products are offered free of charge to soup kitchens and institutions. These products, while suitable for consumption, cannot be absorbed by the market, with the potential for destruction and environmental damage. These foods are referred to in this issue as ‘Surplus Food‘.

Contribution of the Food Bank

Under the management of Surplus Food


Family cohabitation.

They are 65 and 62 years old respectively. They reside with the family of their young son, their 2 grandchildren, and their grandmother who is 82 years old. Out of the whole family only the son works and they have the pension of the grandmother who has many health problems. The whole family is facing an intense livelihood problem.

Low-income family with 3 girls.

Both parents work part-time and for very low wages. They live in their grandmother’s house as they cannot afford to rent. They mainly receive food aid, but they also need school supplies and clothes for the children.

Elderly widow.

He lives in a dwelling, in poor living conditions. He does not receive a pension and tries to live on a 200 euro allowance. She faces the usual health problems due to her age, and has no help from her children who live in distant areas. In the winter months it cannot meet the need for heating by any means. It is served daily by the soup kitchen, with food rations and long-life food from the soup kitchen.

A large family with 4 children.

Married couple living in a house with a loan. They are both low paid. They have four children, two of whom are doing their military service in the province. The two girls are students in Athens. Recently one of the children underwent surgery to repair a spinal problem. On a monthly basis they receive assistance with basic food items, and occasionally with clothing.

Earlier surveys on the needs of the soup kitchens supported by the Food Bank of Athens