End of Year Stats

Record 2.5m food bank parcels given to people in crisis in the past year as the Trussell Trust calls for governments at all levels across the UK to commit to developing a plan to end the need for food banks once and for all.

2.5 million

The number of emergency food parcels given to people in crisis by food banks in the Trussell Trust network in the financial year 2020/21.

Between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK wide network distributed 2.5 million emergency food parcels to people in crisis, a 33% increase on the previous year. 980,000 of these went to children.

Compared to this time five years ago, need for food banks in our network has increased by 128%.

“No one should face the indignity of needing emergency food. Yet our network of food banks has given out record numbers of food parcels as more and more people struggle without enough money for the essentials. This is not right but we know we can build a better future. This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit suddenly, but we know when we push for change, united by our desire for justice and compassion, the government has to listen and act.

“We are asking you, the public, to write to your local candidates standing for election on 6 May, asking them to commit to working to end the need for food banks if elected. Together, we can take action now to build a hunger free future.”

emma-revie-chief-executive-trussell-trust-8762-2

Emma Revie
Chief Executive

Hunger in the UK isn’t about food. It’s about a lack of income. We know the main drivers of food bank use in our network are:  

  • Problems with the benefits system (delays, inadequacy and reductions) 
  • Challenging life experiences or ill-health 
  • Lack of informal or formal support 

Food bank Statistics for previous Financial Years with Regional Breakdown

2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21
UK 1,091,282 1,112,395 1,201,302 1,354,388 1,606,244 1,906,625 2,537,198
England 866,481 863,870 920,170 1,046,807 1,235,892 1,488,038  2,090,989
Scotland 119,212 135,943 150,095 173,526 217,006 238,561  221,554
Wales 87,935 86,314 97,144 100,362 116,087 134,892  145,828
Northern Ireland 17,654 26,268 33,893 33,693 37,259 45,134 78,827
North East 88,248 76,523 62,280 65,218 89,479 98,521  124,224
North West 158,079 160,803 175,645 198,830 225,188 253,772  313,015
Yorkshire & Humberside 58,939 66,303 70,307 79,502 90,245 108,148  122,726
West Midlands 104,374 103,702 111,760 121,039 142,900 169,137  226,237
East Midlands 45,484 49,366 56,791 67,078 78,229 101,785  133,890
East 102,319 103,668 116,356 130,493 157,243 190,039  244,595
London 108,373 112,124 113,701 137,923 169,734 204,187  421,426
South West 100,188 93,701 104,095 121,826 133,287 163,207  201,971
South East 100,477 97,680 109,235 124,898 149,587 199,242  302,905
2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21
UK 691,638 695,580 757,881 862,583 1,020,733 1,183,672 1,557,116
England 541,806 534,574 575,703 660,833 916,330 913,433 1,273,275
Scotland 82,686 91,255 100,781 117,540 157,512 156,602 144,431
Wales 57,154 54,850 61,687 64,341 83,670 83,509 91,611
Northern Ireland 9,992 14,901 19,710 19,869 26,160 26,074 47,799
North East 52,815 46,537 39,364 41,400 62,038 61,999 78,140
North West 98,314 98,807 108,540 123,578 100,135 152,617 192,494
Yorkshire & Humberside 38,207 41,918 45,340 51,206 67,243 67,219 74,987
West Midlands 64,526 64,186 70,351 77,408 106,882 106,695 137,953
East Midlands 28,614 30,672 35,568 42,436 62,501 62,363 81,728
East 65,613 64,204 71,902 80,999 113,793 117,968 142,593
London 67,010 69,044 72,170 88,998 129,323 129,424 262,436
South West 63,863 59,343 65,586 76,831 100,369 99,712 122,372
South East 62,844 59,863 66,882 77,977 120,544 115,436 180,572
2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21
UK 399,644 416,815 443,421 491,805 585,511 722,953 980,082
England 324,675 329,296 344,467 385,974 456,968 571,708 817,714
Scotland 36,526 44,688 49,314 55,986 71,430 81,049 77,123
Wales 30,781 31,464 35,457 36,021 41,756 51,222 54,217
Northern Ireland 7,662 11,367 14,183 13,824 15,357 18,974 31,028
North East 35,433 29,986 22,916 23,818 33,277 36,483 46,084
North West 59,765 61,996 67,105 75,252 83,983 100,135 120,521
Yorkshire & Humberside 20,732 24,385 24,967 28,296 32,735 40,905 47,739
West Midlands 39,848 39,516 41,409 43,631 51,231 62,255 88,284
East Midlands 16,870 18,694 21,223 24,642 29,273 39,284 52,162
East 36,706 39,464 44,454 49,494 60,489 76,246 102,002
London 41,363 43,080 41,531 48,925 60,918 74,864 158,990
South West 36,325 34,358 38,509 44,995 49,505 62,838 79,599
South East 37,633 37,817 42,353 46,921 55,557 78,698 122,333

What do these stats show?

Our statistics are a measure of volume rather than unique users, the available data indicates that people received around 2.4 food bank referrals in the last year. The data is collected using an online system into which food banks enter data from each food bank voucher, and the number of emergency food supplies is recorded. 

For example, if a family of three were referred to a food bank twice in one year, this would count as six supplies on the system because it would reflect six instances of a supply going to someone in the household. However, if a family of three were only referred to a food bank once, this would count as three supplies. 

Trussell Trust figures cannot be used to fully explain the scale of food bank use across the UK, because our figures relate to food banks in our network and not to the hundreds of independent food aid providers and community-groups also providing support. There are more than 1,300 food bank centres in the Trussell Trust’s UK wide network. The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) represents more than 500 independent food banks operating across the UK. IFAN has identified at least 1,034 independent food banks across the UK in addition to food banks in the Trussell Trust network, Salvation Army, and school-based food banks.   

Read our full data briefing here. You can access breakdowns of the data to local authority level here.