Since the beginning of the year, associations have seen an increase in requests for food aid, particularly from single women with one or more dependent children. Rising energy and fuel prices are making households in difficulty more vulnerable. Read more about their worsening financial situation.
Food aid requests on the rise
From the 1st half of 2022, the French Federation of Food Banks has recorded a 9% increase in beneficiaries compared to the end of 2021. According to its estimates, the increase should be 10 to 12% for the year as a whole, compared with the previous year.
As for Restos du cœur, the number of beneficiaries has risen by 12% since last April, an unprecedented situation for an association used to dealing with the financial difficulties of the French.
"Since the start of this crisis, we've suffered a 12% increase in the number of people we take in."- Brut FR (@brutofficiel) November 26, 2022
Mr. President, Patrice Douret, president of @restosducoeur has a message for you pic.twitter.com/GYhAlRWvxD
As for the Crésus federation, which works to prevent over-indebtedness, for some time now it has been receiving around 20 requests for help a week, compared with 5 or 6 in normal times.
According to association leaders, soaring energy and fuel prices, andgalloping inflation in general, have exacerbated the difficulties faced by the most financially fragile households, which could lead to an increase in the number of over-indebtedness applications in the coming weeks.
Overindebtedness files down slightly
For the time being, the Banque de France has not observed any increase in the number of overindebtedness cases, but remains vigilant. It estimates that 115,000 cases will be filed in 2022, slightly fewer than in 2021, when 121,000 cases were recorded.
On the other hand, payment incidents have already returned to the levels they reached before the health crisis. Since the beginning of 2022, the FICP (fichier des incidents de remboursement des crédits aux particuliers) has recorded an 18% increase in the number of new registrations in one year.
Payment in instalments is a concern for both the Banque de France and associations, who see it as a risk for the most vulnerable households to slide into over-indebtedness.
To help those hardest hit by the crisis, the government plans to create a €60 million fund in 2023 "for sustainable food aid". The aim is to enable associations, also affected by inflation, to purchase more fresh produce. A further 10 million euros will be made available for food parcels for students.
According to Insee data, between 2 and 4 million people used food aid in 2021, 70% of them through parcel distribution, and the remaining 30% through social grocery stores. 70% of food aid recipients are women. Of these, 40% are raising at least one child alone.