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Inflated grocery prices might be impacting food bank donations this holiday season, a survey by retail food-waste reduction company Divert found.
Demand at food banks often rises during the holiday season, and 46% of the 700+ consumers Divert surveyed in October said they’re more likely to contribute to food banks during this time than any other during the year. But only 25% said they’re more likely to donate in 2023 than in previous years, and 20% said they’re less likely, at a time when food banks’ budgets are pressured under the weight of inflation.
For those who do plan to donate to local food banks and intend to donate a different amount than last year, 20% said they’ll give less. Of those, 57% cited higher food costs as the reason. And for those choosing to donate more, 75% said it’s due to a “growing awareness of food insecurity.”
Food insecurity rose last year for the first time in a decade, per the USDA, up to 17 million households from 13.5 million in 2021. Pandemic-era SNAP allotments ended in 35 states in March, which Numerator predicted would result in a $46 billion gap in consumer spending in the following year.
Toss-up: High food costs have also led consumers to change behaviors in other ways—17% of Divert’s respondents said they’re using food beyond its expiration date. And 55% said food’s price is a determining factor in choosing to throw it away, while 30% said they’re adding less fresh food like produce to their carts.
Looking ahead, 24% of respondents said they’re more anxious about being able to afford food in the next three to six months.