Skip to main content Accessibility help

Food Insecurity in German households: Qualitative and Quantitative Data on Coping, Poverty Consumerism and Alimentary Participation

  • Sabine Pfeiffer (a1), Tobias Ritter (a2) and Elke Oestreicher (a3)


This article provides empirical results on food consumption patterns of German low-income households and those living under conditions of welfare as defined by Social Code II (Sozialgesetzbuch II). We focus on nutritional consumption patterns, strategies of food choices and typologies of coping with alimentary exclusion in Germany. Quantitative data from SILC/Eurostat are examined alongside qualitative data derived from a longitudinal study composed of more than 450 biographical interviews, conducted over a period of five years. The quantitative data reveal that food poverty and alimentary participation in German households is severe compared to the European average, the UK and even to Greece. The qualitative data give insight into a broad variety of individual coping strategies, eliciting evidence of the essential role of alimentary participation, as well as its tight restrictions.



Hide All
Caraher, M. and Dowler, E. (2014) ‘Food for poorer people: conventional and “alternative” transgressions’, in Goodman, M. and Sage, C. (eds.), Food Transgressions: Making Sense of Contemporary Food Politics, Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 227–46.
Cooper, N., Purcell, S. and Jackson, R. (2014) Below the Breadline: The Relentless Rise of Food Poverty in Britain, Manchester, Oxford, Salisbury: Church Action on Poverty, Oxfam, TrusselTrust.
Dowler, E. and O'Connor, D. (2012) ‘Rights based approaches to addressing food poverty and food insecurity in Ireland and UK’, Social Science and Medicine, 74, 1, 4451.
Gannon, M. and Bailey, N. (2014) ‘Attitudes to the “necessities of life”: would an independent scotland set a different poverty standard to the rest of the UK?’, Social Policy and Society, 13, 3, 321–6.
Holt-Gilménez, E., Shattuck, A., Altieri, M., Herren, H. and Gliessman, S. (2012) ‘We already grow enough food for 10 billion people . . . and still can't end hunger’, Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 36, 6, 595–8.
Kaitila, V. (2014) ‘Transnational income convergence and national income disparity: Europe, 1960–2012’, Journal of Economic Integration, 29, 2, 343–71.
Max Rubner-Institut (2008) Nationale Verzehrstudie II – Ergebnisbericht, Teil 2, Karlsruhe: BundesforschungsinstitutfürErnährungund Lebensmittel.
Mayring, P. (2000) ‘Qualitative content analysis’, Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 2, Art. 20,
OECD (2011) Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising, Country Note Germany, Paris: OECD,
OECD (2012) Terms of Reference, OECD Project on the Distribution of Household Incomes, Paris: OECD,
OECD (2014) Society at a Glance, OECD Social Indicators, Paris: OECD,
Pfeiffer, S., Ritter, T. and Hirseland, A. (2011) ‘Hunger and nutritional poverty in Germany: quantiative and qualitative empirical insights’, Critical Public Health, 21, 4, 417–28.
Rosenthal, G. (2004) ‘Biographical research’, in Seale, C., Giampieto, G., Gubrium, J. F. and Silverman, D. (eds.), Qualitative Research Practice, London: Sage, pp. 4864.
Statistisches Bundesamt (2013) Datenreport 2013: Ein Sozialbericht für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Wiesbaden: Destatis.
Tosun, J., Wetzel, A. and Zapryanova, G. (2014) ‘The EU in crisis: advancing the debate’, Journal of European Integration, 36, 3, 195211.
Withbeck, L., Xiaojin, Ch. and Johnson, K. (2006) ‘Food insecurity among homeless and runaway adolescents’, Public Health Nutrition, 9, 1, 4752.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Food Insecurity in German households: Qualitative and Quantitative Data on Coping, Poverty Consumerism and Alimentary Participation

  • Sabine Pfeiffer (a1), Tobias Ritter (a2) and Elke Oestreicher (a3)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.