We need to talk about…hidden hunger

When we think about hunger, grim images come to mind: a mother holding a skeletal child in a third world country; a homeless man rummaging through a bin; severely malnourished villagers reeling in the wake of a humanitarian crisis.

Not all hunger takes on this extreme, explicit form. Hunger doesn’t just unravel in famine-struck corners of the developing world or next to cash machines in your local high street. Some hunger is out of sight, out of mind, cloaked in an ordinary guise, dressed in normal clothes, behind closed doors in everyday communities.

It is hidden hunger — a concealed crisis that is causing hardship for people from all walks of life, people you’re least likely to expect. People who don’t want to talk about their situation or admit they’re struggling. This hunger remains under the surface, shrouded in shame.

Falling on hard times and the need to access emergency food aid could happen to anyone. Many of us are a few pay-checks away from economic hardship. Many of us could just as easily suffer a disruptive jolt in our lives leading to a slippery slope.

Hidden hunger lurks in food banks…

where usage is at an all-time high. In 2016–17, The Trussell Trust provided 1.2m food parcels to clients. 440,000 went to households with children. There are at least 680 more non-Trussell food banks in the UK.

at schools…

where 80% of teachers have had to feed pupils who’ve come to school hungry. Nearly 1 in 3 children in the UK — a total of 4 million — live in poverty. This leaves them vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition, which significantly undermines their education and life chances.

in hospitals…

where cases of malnutrition have trebled over the last 10 years. And it’s not just the patients. Increasing numbers of nursing staff are getting referred to food banks.

in homes…

where 1.5 million UK parents have skipped meals just so they can feed their children during the school holidays. Going hungry in the school holidays is a growing problem for up to 3 million children as they no longer receive free school meals.

in everyday life…

where, in the 5th richest country in the world, 8 million people struggle to put food on the table. In a recent Unicef report on the inequality of rich nations, the UK ranks 16th out of 41 on tackling poverty, 34th on food insecurity, 15th on health and wellbeing, 31st on economic growth, and 6th on reducing inequalities.

Sharing is caring


Our campaign seeks to unmask the issue of hidden hunger and alleviate the grinding reality of food insecurity through compassion, community and sharing.

It is utterly bonkers that almost 1 billion people in the world go hungry, while at the same time, a third of all the food we produce is lost or wasted. And in the developed world, half of this waste is in our homes.

Too many OLIO users face food insecurity and have used our app as a shame-free lifeline to source food that’s fresh and nutritious from a neighbour or local shop.

Hidden hunger is a colossal and complex issue, but you can help in a few simple ways. Volunteer to be a Food Waste Hero, where you can save surplus food from shops, cafes and businesses and redistribute it to your local OLIO community.

Have a cupboard clear-out and share your spare before it’s too late (did you know, over 40% of food items added to the app are requested in less than 1 hour and 86% are requested in less than 24 hours!).

Ultimately, share food and connect with your local community. Small actions can make a big difference.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.