Feeding Britain has, in partnership with like-minded organisations, supported the development of 130 affordable food clubs – encompassing pantries, larders, and social supermarkets – across our network. These settings are making food and other essentials more affordable and accessible to 16,700 households, thereby helping them stretch their budgets further while preventing at least some of the need for food banks.
We cautiously estimate that, between them, those households are saving hundreds of thousands of pounds each month by visiting affordable food clubs. Management data collated by staff and volunteers suggest that, on average, households spend an estimated £5.80 each time they visit and take home food and other items worth approximately £20. Staff and volunteers report that, over the last three months, with a steep rise in the cost of living, households have tended to visit more frequently and take home a larger number of items per visit. Staff and volunteers cautiously estimate that, had they not been able to visit an affordable food club, approximately half of those households would have been in crisis and having to rely on a food bank. They estimate further that approximately three-quarters of those households are also shopping with other retailers. These findings indicate that affordable food clubs could potentially be providing enough of a pressure valve within weekly budgets to both prevent households having to rely on crisis food provision, as well as to retain their freedom and dignity of choice to shop with other retailers.
“This shop has been a godsend to me and the kids. I can go home with bags full of really good food, treats, and cleaning stuff, and still have change in my pocket” – Member
“The Pantry has been an amazing support to me and my family. My daughter and brother both use it. The savings you make on shopping can go towards other things needed in the home. The food is good and the people working there make it a lovely experience” – Member
“I don’t have much cash and the Pantry is a great help and value for money. It is also nice to meet other people using the Pantry and have a chat with the staff” – Member
Photos: The Govan Pantry (above) and The Threehills Larder (below), both in Glasgow