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NEWS > Charity Sector News > Cost-of-living crisis continuing to impact families – Latest Barnardos and ALDI research

Cost-of-living crisis continuing to impact families – Latest Barnardos and ALDI research

Barnardos calls on Government to implement five key recommendations to tackle food poverty

The latest annual Barnardos and ALDI Ireland Food Insecurity Research launched today. The research found that food insecurity in families with children is worsening. An increasingly large proportion of children are living in homes where parents are; cutting back or going without meals themselves to feed their children; cutting down on essentials such as clothing, electricity, and heat in order to make sure enough food is on their table; and borrowing or resorting to food banks to provide themselves and their children with sufficient food. 

The survey, conducted by Coyne Research, explores both the prevalence and impact of child food insecurity in Ireland. Key findings from this year’s research, include:

  • 41% of parents said they had skipped meals or reduced portion sizes so that their children would have enough to eat, an increase of 12% since last year
  • Almost one quarter of parents (24%) have had to borrow money to feed a child in the last year, up from 16% in October 2022, and 11% in January 2022
  • 21% of families have had to cut back on children’s activities to afford food
  • One quarter of parents have had to reduce spending on medical costs, up from 17% a year ago
  • Just one in four (27%) have never had to make cutbacks to afford food, down from 36% last year, and from 57% in January 2022

The research is part of a wider partnership between ALDI and Barnardos which enters into its 4th year in 2024.


Parents cutting back to feed their children: The Barnardos and ALDI research shows that even more parents are cutting back on their own food, borrowing money for food, relying on food banks, and cutting back on spending on other household activities, including clothing, household bills, medical costs and children’s activities.

Cost-of-living worries: More parents are worried about their ability to provide their children with sufficient food, as families continue to struggle with cost-of-living pressures.

45% of parents are either always or sometimes worried about having enough food for the family. This is slightly up on last year (42%) but has more than doubled since January 2022 (19%). Of those parents who are worried, half (50%) are “stressed”, more than a quarter (26%) say they feel “guilty” and 17% are afraid to ask for help.


Attitudes to meals and food choices: The results show that over the past year, there has been an increase in focus from parents on providing healthy eating options. Almost nine in ten (88%) say that healthy or nutritious food is important in their decision-making (up from 81% a year ago). More than three-quarters (76%) of parents say that their family always or mostly eat a main daily meal together, and more than nine in ten parents (92%) aim to have mostly home cooked meals.

In terms of food preparation, five in six say they mostly cook meals from scratch (83%) and a similar number (82%) mostly or always include fruit or vegetables in their meals. 94% of parents say they aim to give their children fresh fruit and vegetables every day.


Living in households experiencing food insecurity can be damaging to children’s health, well-being and future development. More needs to be done to guarantee no family struggles to have access to sufficient nutritious food. Barnardos is calling on the government to:

  • Continue progress of rolling out hot school meals programme within schools: Hot schools meals programme needs to be extended to secondary schools
  • Pilot out of term time/weekend provision: Provide a programme for out of terms meals for children who depend on these during the school terms
  • Provide additional supports to families on low income: Increase targeted supports in Budget 2025
  • Food Insecurity Action Plan: Set out a timeline for the development of a government action plan on food insecurity with specific targets
  • Additional needs payments: Provide a decision within 48 hours for families who apply for an additional needs payment where family need extra support to provide their children with sufficient food.


Commenting on the results, Suzanne Connolly, CEO Barnardos said: “The results in this survey reflect what Barnardos are seeing on the ground every day. Parents are being faced with difficult decisions to make for their families more frequently than ever. A lack of nutritious meals has an impact on the emotional and mental well-being of both child and parent for a long to time to come. Because childhood lasts a lifetime.”

In response to the research findings, ALDI Ireland has reaffirmed its commitment to deliver value for its customers, shielding them from rising costs and always providing access to quality, affordable, nutritious food without compromise. ALDI has also observed clear changes in customer shopping behaviours in response to challenges presented by the rising cost of living.

Niall O’Connor, Group Managing Director of ALDI Ireland added, “As we celebrate three years of collaboration with Barnardos, our shared mission has never been more important. We believe that no one should face the dilemma of choosing between affordability or quality, nutritious food. ALDI, as a family retailer, has consistently advocated for accessible and wholesome food. In January, we delivered on this commitment through substantial price reductions of up to 23% on family favourites and lunch box essentials."

“We remain unwavering in our partnership with Barnardos, as ALDI works towards its goal of making food poverty history. To deliver on that, we have pledged to raise €2 million for Barnardos by 2024. We are making significant strides towards that target, with over €1.5 million already contributed through staff, store, customer, and community initiatives since October 2020."

“Beyond our financial contributions, ALDI is actively involved in initiatives like the ALDI Play Rugby programme, which has almost doubled participation levels in schools nationwide since 2016, with over 126,506 participants across 724 schools last year."

“At ALDI, we recognise the collective responsibility we bear in bolstering local communities. Our partnership with FoodCloud has reached 3.3 million surplus meals donated. Also, our partnership with Too Good To Go is focused on curbing food waste and providing cost-effective options to customers. Customers have already availed of more than 100,000 Surprise Bags in our first year working together."

"Additionally, through our Community Grants and local community support initiatives, ALDI remains dedicated to making a positive impact in the communities we serve. As we stand shoulder to shoulder with families across the country, we are committed to delivering the best and lowest prices on the market while fostering a healthier and more sustainable future for all."


Full report can be seen here - Food Insecurity Report

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