Australian household food insecurity levels rising according to Australian National University poll

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 14th June 2012

The 12th ANU Poll, Public Opinion on Food Security and Related Food Issues, has found that Australian household food insecurity levels are increasing.

The ANU Poll is a regular survey conducted through the Australian National University in Canberra. It measures Australian public opinion on matters of national importance. This poll was conducted by Professor Stewart Lockie, Head of the School of Sociology in the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Australian National University and Dr Juliet Pietsch of the School of Politics and International Relations.


The Poll found that 4% of Australians were already accessing emergency food supplies and, in total, 8% said they were unable to afford food. Up to 16% of respondents said they often or sometimes worried that their food would run out before they had enough money to buy more, and 13% said they could not afford to eat nutritionally-balanced meals.

While the Poll was funded and backed by the Australian National University, the questions were compiled with the help of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and AusAID.

In an interview with Australian Food News, Professor Lockie said that the rising rate of household food insecurity in Australia had come as a surprise to him. “The levels of food insecurity and severe food insecurity suggested by the survey appear to be higher than in previous surveys,” he said.


Professor Lockie noted that those who were running out of food and those who could not afford to have a balanced diet were in a similar demographic. “There is clearly a nexis between poverty, inadequate access to food, and related medical problems such as obesity,” he said.

The poll, Public Opinion on Food Security and Related Food Issues, was conducted via a 20-minute phone survey of 1200 Australians from an essentially random sample, stratified to include a balance of results from each state. The lengthy survey, containing general questions regarding Australian politics, included about 20 questions focusing on household food security, eating out habits, health and food safety and attitudes to genetically modified crops.