Food bank use among residents of Glasgow’s deprived neighbourhoods

Friday 14 October 2016

The growth of food banks within the UK has been a very high profile issue over the past few years. In 2015/16 the Trussell Trust provided 21,838 food parcels in Glasgow, almost 25% more than the previous year. However little is known about who is accessing food banks, and given that there are a large number of non-Trussell Trust providers in Glasgow, the true scale of the issue also remains unclear. There is a need for more and better information on the scale and nature of food bank use in the city, particularly in the context on ongoing efforts to develop policy responses to issues of food poverty.

Our latest briefing paper, Food bank use among residents of Glasgow’s deprived neighbourhoods, is based upon analysis of Go Well’s wave 4 (2015) community survey which for the first time included a question on food bank use, and a follow-up question on reasons for non-use. The paper provides the first known analysis of a self-reported measure of food bank use in the UK and details the scale of food bank use among residents of Glasgow’s deprived neighbourhoods. Characteristics of food bank users and non-users are also reported, focusing on a number of variables including: socio-demographic variables; personal factors; health variables; and financial variables.

As well as statistical information, the paper includes analysis of qualitative data from in-depth, follow-up interviews with some of the respondents to the 2015 survey who had reported difficulty affording food. The paper explores how interviewees described experiences and perceptions of food banks and their reasons for using or not using them. The qualitative data builds on and helps to illustrate the quantitative findings, showing, for example, that participants strongly identified feelings of shame and stigma with food bank use and this was often a reason why people did not use them.

The findings presented in this paper are part of a larger study – a mixed-methods, international comparative PhD project (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)) looking at household food insecurity, the growth of food banks, and their implications for the welfare state in Scotland and Finland.

The research is available to download now - Briefing paper 28: Food bank use among residents of Glasgow’s deprived neighbourhoods.

Key findings are highlighted in this infographic. Foodbank infographic - if you require an accessible version or transcript, please email

For more information about the research, email Mary Anne Macleod.