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Food Bank Usage Is a Poor Indicator of Food Insecurity: Insights from Canada

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 May 2015

Rachel Loopstra
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology, University of Oxford, E-mail: rachel.loopstra@sociology.ox.ac.uk
Valerie Tarasuk
Affiliation:
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, E-mail: valerie.tarasuk@utoronto.ca

Abstract

This article reflects on the insights afforded by the regular measurement and monitoring of household food insecurity in Canada juxtaposed against information on food bank usage in the population. We show that the number and characteristics of people using food banks suggest that this population is a non-representative subset of the food insecure population. We also highlight how the number of people using food banks is insensitive to the level of household food insecurity in the population. Who goes to food banks is a function of the nature of food bank operations and the severity of food insecurity. Representative data on household food insecurity should be regularly collected and utilised to make policy recommendations for interventions to address the problem of insecure food access.

Type
Themed Section on Hunger, Food and Social Policy in Austerity
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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