Food Poverty: How Does Poverty Affect People's Nutrition?

The main cause of poverty is often lack of economic resources, and its main consequence is lack of food. Therefore, the concept of food poverty exists.


Food is one of the most basic needs of any human being. So, what are the consequences of suffering from this type of poverty, and who are the most affected? 

What is food poverty?

Food poverty is “poverty that does not allow a sufficient, safe and healthy diet”. 


Various levels of food poverty can be distinguished and can be moderate or severe. Moderate food poverty is when the household has been hungry and has not been able to eat on occaision. 


This type of poverty is related to one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely “Zero Hunger”. This SDG aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition

Facts and figures on food poverty in Spain

Hunger lines multiplied during the pandemic, bringing together more than 1.5 million people. As a result, food insecurity increased by 1.4 percentage points. 

Currently, 13.3 perfect of households are unable to eat an adequate diet due to a lack of financial resources. Of these, almost 1 million households are severely food insecure, i.e. they do not have access to the necessary amount of nutritious food to ensure normal growth and development.

In addition, this situation causes almost 90,000 deaths per year and a direct cost of 1.95 billion euros in treatments for obesity and for those who are overweight.

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puedes adquirir alimentos frescos del comercio local?

Who is affected by this type of poverty?

Households most affected by this type of poverty tend to have the following characteristrics:

  • Households with middle and lower-middle socio-economic levels. 
  • Lower income levels, with difficulties in making ends meet and with a family member in a precarious employment situation.
  • The health status of households is also a related factor. That is, if there is someone in the household who is overweight, disabled or ill.
  •  Restricted use of kitchen equipment or food storage.

However, it may also be the case that some people are food insecure despite having a job. Moreover, according to pre-pandemic data, 47% of mildly food insecure households had no member in a precarious employment situation. 

So, we can say that, there are many people who do not have sufficient resources. This is , what is known as in-work poverty, a term we discussed in previous articles. 

What are the consequences of food poverty?

Food insecurity is not only related to the quantity of food, but also to its quality. This means that people who suffer from food insecurity only have access to poor quality and unwholesome food because they do not have sufficient resources to buy other types of nutritious food.


Food poverty leads to malnutrition and obesity. There is very little help from organisations to prevent this from happening, most of them tend to distribute non-perishable products due to storage and transport issues, which results in the inability of many people to access  fresh food that could reduce their malnutrition.

For this reason, Comunitaria has a social currency, which gives these people the opportunity to consume fresh food in their local shops, making it as easy as possible for them to have access to more nutritious and quality food.