In many countries, people face cuts in jobs, wages and social security as economic austerity policies have been implemented to reduce public expenditure following the near collapse of the banking system in 2008. At the same time, rising food and fuel prices have combined to generate increasing and sometimes extreme hardship, not only in poorer countries of the global South where the impact has been severe, but also on economically vulnerable countries and populations in the global North. The re-emergence of ‘hunger’ as a widespread social reality and political concern in richer countries is a notable feature of the last few years, generating community responses and academic research even if, as yet, minimal policy response. For example, a recent special issue of the British Food Journal (Caraher and Cavicchi, 2014) on food banks included nine articles discussing the explosion in usage and acceptability of charitable food aid provision in rich countries. Riches and Silvasti's recent volume (2014), updating First World Hunger: Food Security and Welfare Politics (Riches, 1997) nearly two decades after its account of food and poverty in five rich economies, now provides evidence from twelve such countries, and there could have been more. What is perhaps even more remarkable is how slow public policy has been to react. Partly this is because the issues are cross-sectoral in the location of causal drivers and potential levers, and it is thus difficult to ascribe responsibility; partly it is because ‘hunger’ is not only difficult to define and document, it is also an intrinsically private issue: its experience and effects are personal, embodied and usually silent – except in extremes.