Secret to $10 grocery haul as Aussie demand for cheaper food soars

There are services that offer cheaper food for struggling Aussies who might otherwise go hungry.

The rising cost of groceries at supermarkets has put a strain on many Aussies with more and more now relying on food banks to get by.

Major supermarkets, including Coles and Woolworths, have been put under the microscope following accusations of price gouging, with basic grocery items becoming increasingly unaffordable for many, forcing many to seek out cheaper alternatives.

Melisa Hake from Community Support Services in Sydney told Yahoo News Australia she's seen a drastic increase in Aussies relying on the services provided by them — in particular, the $10 fresh fruit and vegetable boxes they offer daily.

The organisation, which operates out of Bankstown in Sydney's southwest, was founded six years ago, but Hake said it's "sad" to see so many new people struggling and needing extra support.

Various black crates filled with array of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Community Support Services in Sydney offers struggling Aussies fresh produce hampers for $10. Source: Community Support Services

$10 veggie boxes available for struggling Aussies

For those who can't afford to put food on the table, the service allows people to order and collect a huge variety of fresh fruit and veggies for just $10. "We also have a community pantry shop where we sell cheaper groceries, including meat [and other essentials]," she told Yahoo News Australia.

On a busy day, Hake said they sell around 10-12 hampers. "We generally have the same people that come," she added. "But the hampers are available to anyone. They just need to call up and order."

Photos shared online show various crates filled to the brim with an array of produce. Celery, bananas, grapes, potatoes and carrots are just some of the options which are provided by Oz Harvest and Secondbite — two leading food charities in Australia.

"Majority of our clients are refugees and students but we have families and homeless people too. We're getting a more variety of clients now," Hake said.

Bankstown community support services charity.
Staff say they've seen an increase in people relying on their service, particularly in need of food. Source: Community Support Services

Aussies struggling with food prices

Frustrated Aussies have been vocal about the rising cost of living with many sharing on social media what a typical shop at a supermarket costs them. One shopper Nat was outraged that ingredients for a single meal cost her $46 in November last year.

According to Foodbank, 3.7 million Australian households (36%) have experienced moderate to severe food insecurity in the past year. This means, at the very least, they are reducing the quality, variety or desirability of their food and at worst, their eating patterns are disrupted in a bid to cut costs.

Of those households, 77 per cent experienced food insecurity for the first time and at least 60 per cent of food insecure households have someone in paid work.

'Food insecurity is now affecting more Australians than ever before'

Foodbank Australia CEO, Brianna Casey said the organisation is seeing a "quite significant shift" in the types of people seeking food relief.

"Food insecurity is now affecting more Australians than ever before," she told Yahoo News Australia. "We are seeing food insecurity touching groups previously unaffected including young professionals and mid to high-income earners are among those being forced to make sacrifices at the dinner table.

"Last week we revealed Foodbank Australia sourced a record 51 million kilograms of food and groceries in 2023, the equivalent of 92 million meals, as the cost-of-living crisis pushed demand for food relief to record highs across the country."

Salvation Army mission leader Lauren Martin said staff are also seeing many people visit support services for the first time."They're embarrassed, they're like, 'Should I be here, other people have it worse than me,'" she said, according to the ABC.

She said people are "running out" of money more quickly and there are more people "literally living pay cheque to pay cheque." According to the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), people across Australia are "being forced to ration food" to afford other essential items.

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