Research and advocacy

Our vision is for a future without the need for food banks. To realise this, we need a benefits system that works for everyone  and secure incomes so people can afford the essentials like food and heating. Our policy asks and campaigning are rooted in evidence from food banks in our network across the UK, and the people they support.

We use our evidence to campaign for change so that in the future no one needs to use a food bank. We do this by sharing our evidence with policy makers and the public to ensure they understand fully the state of hunger and poverty in the UK. Find out more about our campaigns here.

How to end the need for food banks in the UK (2024): Our series of eight briefings explore the factors that make it more likely people will need a food bank and the policies and practices needed to ensure we all have enough money to live on.

Dignified, accessible support for disabled people and people with health conditions (2024): This policy briefing looks at the role of dignified, accessible support for disabled people and people with health conditions in building a future where no one needs a food bank.

Disability and financial hardship: How disability benefits contribute to the need for food banks in the UK (2023): This research report from the Scottish Centre for Social Research was commissioned by the Trussell Trust to understand the drivers of hunger among disabled people. This research was accompanied by a review of the existing literature and evidence.

Hunger in the UK (2023): This landmark research is our most in-depth study to date on hunger – revealing its causes, impacts and who is affected. It is also the first time we’ve been able to dive more deeply into the experience of hunger in the UK, with reports on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Debt and deductions fact sheet (2022): This fact sheet summarises the latest research from the Trussell Trust, alongside external data sources, on the issue of deductions from benefit payments for the repayment of debt and the impact on people’s ability to afford the essentials.

The True Cost of Living: The action needed to stem the rising tide of destitution (2022): this report shares findings on the impact of the cost of living crisis on people on Universal Credit, highlighting why the government must urgently uprate benefits in line with inflation.

Debt to government, deductions and destitution (2022): This participatory research report with Humankind explores the experiences of people with government debt, working with individuals to bring to life the pathways into government debt, the experience of its impact, and ways forward towards a fairer and safer approach.

State of Hunger: Year Two report (2021): This report is for the second year of a landmark three-year research project, State of Hunger, which is being carried out by Heriot-Watt University. More information is available here.

Local lifelines: investing in local welfare during and beyond Covid-19 (2020): This report makes the case for extending emergency funding for local welfare assistance and reinvigorating the long-term role of local welfare in supporting people through financial hardship, looking at the role of local welfare assistance in England specifically.

Lockdown, lifelines and the long haul ahead: The impact of Covid-19 on food banks in the Trussell Trust network (2020): Carried out with Heriot Watt University, this research reveals the impact of the pandemic on food bank use during the first half of 2020, and forecasts how need will continue to change this winter. The executive summary , policy paper from NIESR, more information on the survey findings, and the technical report are also available.

State of Hunger: Year One report (2019): State of Hunger is the largest ever piece of research into hunger and food bank use in the UK. This report is for the first year of a three-year project.

State of Hunger: Introduction to a study of poverty and food insecurity in the UK (2019): This interim report introduces the State of Hunger research project, which is being carried out by Heriot-Watt university over the next three years to help us understand the scale of hunger and poverty in the UK.

Financial insecurity, food insecurity, and disability (2017): From researchers at the University of Oxford, this report is the most wide-ranging piece of research on the causes of food bank use in the UK.

Emergency Use Only II (2017): This report evaluates changes in policy affecting people on very low incomes since 2014 and finds that more needs to be done to reduce hunger in the UK.

Emergency Use Only (2014): This report with the Church of England, Child Poverty Action Group, and Oxfam identifies a number of problems with the benefits system which contribute to an increase in food bank use.

Below the Breadline (2014): The Trussell Trust and partners seek to measure the extent of food poverty across the UK for the first time.

Dignity or destitution? The case for keeping the Universal Credit lifeline (2021): New research conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Trussell Trust reveals the alarming consequences of the proposed cut in April 2021 of the £20 weekly uplift to Universal Credit.

#5WeeksTooLong (2019): New case study evidence and analysis of support service data illustrate the ongoing impact of the minimum five week wait and the limits of current policies to mitigate its effects.

The Next Stage of Universal Credit (2018): Analysing quantitative food bank voucher data, this report finds that moving onto Universal Credit is a growing driver of food bank use.

Left Behind: is Universal Credit truly Universal? (2018): Through a survey of over 280 Universal Credit claimants referred to food banks, this report finds that the design and implementation of the new benefit system can push people into crisis.

Early Warnings: Universal Credit and Food banks (2017): This report looks at some of the impacts of the transition to Universal Credit on people referred and food bank demand.

Impact of the Scottish Child Payment on the Need for Food Banks (2024): A report assessing the impact of the roll out of the Scottish Child Payment (SCP) on food bank use in Scotland. This report shares findings from an in-depth analysis of the Trussell Trust’s administrative data by the Fraser of Allander Institute.

Youth Perceptions of Poverty in the UK (2023): This research surveyed 1,000 young people across the UK to understand their views and experiences on the topics of poverty and hunger.

Disability, Health, and Hunger (2018): This report looks into what food banks are doing to support people with health conditions, suggesting local and national solutions.

The impact of benefit sanctioning on food insecurity (2016): The University of Oxford reports on sanctions, identifying a strong link between benefit sanctioning and food bank use.

A Local Jigsaw: a Study into Local Welfare Assistance Schemes and Food banks (2017): Through a survey of local authorities and food banks, this report finds that local welfare assistance availability and up-take is dwindling, and advocates for funding to be sustained, increased, and ring-fenced.

A nutritional analysis of the Trussell Trust emergency food parcel: Nutritional researchers at University College London examine the three-day emergency food parcel.

Non-food provision in the Trussell Trust network in Scotland (2017): This report looks at the scale and demand of need for essential non-food items in Scotland such as toiletries and feminine hygiene products.

Volunteering across the UK giving ‘at least £30 million’ a year in unpaid work to support food banks (2017): With the Independent Food Aid Network, this is the first data on the value of volunteers in food banks, both independent and Trussell Trust.