The present survey is a continuation of the former one published by the Food Bank in January 2021 named ”food needs in the general population” (see here). It examines the food insecurity, the characteristics of the people in this situation, and the way in which recent news affects the problem.
In the last two years, international developments have been disturbing and unprecedented. As a result, food insecurity in Greece and Europe is on the rise, and at the same time there is talk about a potential broader food crisis and how it can be alleviated.
These future scenarios are certainly not auspicious. Increasing inflation is already affecting food prices, which are expected to go even higher since the increasing cost of energy will be passed on to the end customer. Thus, families will have to choose which expenses to cover. They will be faced with the dilemma of whether they should pay their electricity bills, buy food, heating oil, or whether they should pay their dues to the state.
Food quantities will be limited worldwide, however there will not be any shortages in Europe. Foods that are currently on their way to poorer regions of the world will be absorbed by European countries at higher prices. Food insecurity among the lower levels of society in European countries is expected to increase, while there will be more hunger in other parts of the world, possibly causing new migratory flows, protests, political instability, riots, etc.
The study of all these factors is complicated and it certainly far exceeds the capacity and scope of a Food Bank. This issue presents the data we have gathered on food insecurity and together we express our concerns for the future. Greek society has gained experience in matters of solidarity, however there is also a sense of accumulated weariness.
According to Eurostat, 12.4% of the Greek population was in a state of food insecurity in 2020. From the rest of the data, we can safely conclude that this percentage has clearly increased, but we can not estimate the increase in numerical terms.
The responses show that the problem of food insecurity has three dimensions:
• There is an increase in the number of people in need.
• Needs per person are growing, i.e. someone who already needed support now needs even more assistance.
• Soup kitchens, which could meet these needs, are facing increasing difficulties in finding food.
All three dimensions were discerned in the previous survey. However, they did not remain fixed in the in-between period, but continued to increase. Now, there are even more people who resort to soup kitchens and they are in an even tougher financial situation, while soup kitchens face greater difficulties in carrying out their work.
The general conclusion is that a substantial part of society has been strongly impoverished and they undoubtedly turn to soup kitchens for support. These are people with particularly low incomes, which are limited by various extrinsic factors (pandemic, rising inflation, price increases), and they therefore limit the quality and quantity of the foods they buy for their families since they have no other choice.