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Study shows 3.5 million Michiganders skip meals or eat less due to unaffordable food prices

WGVU Staff Photo

The study was released by CouponBirds Research Center this July. It found that overall, 45% of adults in Michigan said they have eaten less food as a result of inflated, unaffordable food prices in 2022.

Inflation has peaked to a 40-year high, which has led to a surge in the cost of groceries. High price points have left many families with low income vulnerable to hunger or food insecurity.

In a 2022 study by CouponBirds Research Center, data showed 3.5 million Michiganders skip meals or eat less due to unaffordable food prices. This number equates to 45% of Adults in Michigan. In comparison, the national average in the study was 42%.

WGVU asked Molly Kooi, Communication and Marketing Manger at Feeding America West Michigan (FAWM), how the group’s 40-county service area is fairing. She said the number of people in line at the organization’s mobile food pantry have topped what they saw last year during a pandemic surge.

“Our mobile food pantry attendance is up 15% from last year, which if you remember last year is really saying something,” Kooi said. “Donations have been down for the last I think five or six years, so that’s not new, but it’s especially bad right now.”

FAWM relies partly on donations to keep its pantries stocked, but the organization also spends its own dollars on products for the shelves. Kooi said inflation rates, combined with product shortages, are making it difficult to purchase necessary goods. When asked if FAWM had enough food to feed its families, Kooi said it’s not a matter of how much her team can give, it’s what.

“A lot of what we have right now are dried goods, because that’s what we have access to. So things like lentils and beans and can goods but then we talk about fresh produce and protein, things that people really need and want, we’re really struggling to have enough of that,” she explained.

Kooi said she is certain families in West Michigan are currently going hungry or skipping meals due to the high food prices, saying families have discussed not being able to buy enough food.

As price tags remain high, Kooi said Feeding America West Michigan will continue to serve the best it can, providing what it does have access to and working towards items it doesn’t.

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