More than 3 million beneficiaries of food aid in France – Liberation


While France is experiencing an inflationary wave, Insee has made public its data on people who have recourse to associative food distribution networks. Four out of five beneficiaries suffer from “food deprivation”.

It’s a «portrait social» drawn up this Wednesday by INSEE which is timely. While the subject of food insecurity is burning, faced with the dizzying rise in food prices, the institute has just made public its annual work on economic and social developments in France. This time with a special focus on the beneficiaries of food aid. Between November and December 2021, INSEE statisticians thus surveyed these people, in great financial difficulty, who go to one or more associative centers for the distribution of aid in order to receive or buy food products. By including all the individuals making up the household of these beneficiaries, INSEE estimates that between 3.2 and 3.5 million people received food aid in 2021 (parcels, purchases in solidarity grocery stores or distribution of ready-to-eat meals). ) by the associative network.

Admittedly, the data dates from last year, but they are enlightening in the light of the inflationary context of 2022. A context which convinced the National Food Council (CNA) to recommend, last October, to include the right to food in French legislation in order to “guaranteeing access to all”. Context which also earned the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, to announce at the beginning of the month the creation of a “sustainable food aid fund” of 60 million euros in 2023, to enable the French “the most fragile” to access “quality food”. And to the Ministers of Solidarity and Higher Education, Jean-Christophe Combe and Sylvie Retailleau, to commit this Wednesday on the release of an envelope of 10 million euros in food aid allocated to students. Almost making people forget the government project of a “emergency food voucher” of 100 euros per household, intended for “9 million poorest households”. Formulated this summer, the promise has stalled.

Also in the “social portrait” of INSEE

“The majority of food aid recipients live in their own homes,” or three quarters of them, reveals INSEE. They are 10% to stay with a relative, 8% to live in collective accommodation and 2% in a hotel. 4% are homeless and only 62% live in their own accommodation. Immigrants represent 44% – a share that the institute considers underestimated since these are only beneficiaries who were able to answer the statisticians’ questionnaire in French.

“Food deprivation”

“The beneficiaries are often the poorest of the poor, pointe l’institut. [Ces] households constitute the fraction with the most difficult living conditions.” According to the figures made available, the standard of living of those living in “ordinary” housing (at home or at a relative’s) amounts to an average of 637 euros per month. Beneficiaries living in collective accommodation, hotel rooms, or the homeless, have an average of 435 euros to live on. The report states that “72% of applicants living in ordinary housing and 88% of other applicants have a standard of living that is below the threshold of 40% of the median income”, which was established at 1,898 euros in 2020 by the “Statistics on resources and living conditions” survey. For comparison, the “poor households” (less than 1130 euros per month) are 23% to find themselves below this bar of 40% of the median standard of living. With identical characteristics, the Appellants declare “2.3 times more often financial difficulties” than the average poor household.

Consequences of this very great precariousness: 4 out of 5 beneficiaries suffer from “several forms of food deprivation”. Among the most cited renunciations come first “the need to reduce the variety of foods consumed” et “the obligation to buy, often or sometimes, the cheapest foods rather than the ones we like” (67% of responses). Moreover, about half of the beneficiaries say “to be afraid of running out of food” (55 %), “reduce the amounts they eat or skip meals” (49 %). In a financial bind, 35% of beneficiaries said they had to ask their relatives for food, while 32% said they left “often or sometimes” go to bed hungry. So many difficulties that are unlikely to improve for 2022. According to its latest update, INSEE forecasts inflation of 12% in food products for December over one year.


Source: Libération by www.liberation.fr.

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