Rising living costs, stagnate wages and welfare reform are frequently cited as the primary causes for rising food poverty and in increase in the demand for food banks.
New research reveals the stark reality behind food poverty in the UK and shows how benefit changes are fuelling soaring levels of hunger and poverty.
Think Money surveyed 70 independent food banks to discover why more families than ever before are turning to them for help.
The survey also reveals the growing strain felt by food banks, as a growing number of families regularly go without food and struggle to cope with welfare cuts.
There has been a 66% increase in the number of independent food banks opening over the last three years. This is in addition to food banks operated by larger providers like Trussell Trust, who handed out more than one million food parcels in 2014-15.
A staggering 59% of food banks users say they frequently go without food three or more times a week.
Food bank users cited benefit sanctions as the main reason for needing food aid (49%) and 19% blamed payment delays.
With further welfare cuts on the horizon, 75% of independent food banks surveyed by Think Money agreed that benefit changes will lead to an increase in demand. There has been a rise of 49% over the next 12 months alone.
91% said they now offer other forms of help and support to starving families such as providing clothing, furniture and debt advice.
Some food banks even provide cookery classes to help protect people against malnutrition. However, 81% say only a tenth of the food they provide is fresh produce.
67% of those surveyed added that they would struggle to continue helping needy families if demand for their services were to increase by just 5%.
Independent food banks receive the majority of their funding from public donations (39%). Only 1% were offered funding from supermarkets.