Study confirms increased food insecurity levels in 66 of 67 Florida counties post global pandemic
[Tallahassee, Fla.] – Feeding Florida, the state’s largest food bank network, released an updated analysis of weekly and yearly missing meals across the state, showing a 17 percent increase since March of 2020. The statewide food bank network commissioned Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group (MG) to update her estimate of how many individuals are currently missing meals each week, largely due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The original Meal Deficit Metric study was released prior to COVID-19 and a second version was released May 2020 to highlight the impact the global pandemic had on food insecurity in Florida. This latest release in 2021 highlights the long-lasting effect on Florida’s food insecure population, a year after the pandemic hit. Since March 2020, the count of missing meals across the state of Florida has increased to 19,808,725 meals per week.
“The latest update of the Meal Deficit Metric shows that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hunger is far from over,” says Robin Safley Executive Director of Feeding Florida. “By utilizing this new data, our 12-member food banks, healthcare partners, and collaborating government agencies can better focus their efforts on these pinpointed, under-resourced communities.”
The Meal Deficit Metric calculates the unmet food gap at a hyperlocal level by breaking up the state of Florida into 11,400 pinpoints. These granular data points uniquely position Feeding Florida and its network of food banks to respond to this increased food need and better assist under-resourced households at a hyper-local level across all 67 counties.
Highlights of the February 2021 Meal Deficit Metric analysis include:
- 19,808,725 meals are missed weekly across the state.
- There was an increase of 2,872,571 in total missing meals between March 2020 and February 2021.
- The analysis estimates that there is a total of nearly 150 million missing meals each year across Florida.
For additional information and to download the executive summary, please visit our Meal Deficit Metric page.