In 2015 (most recent available figures), 119 million people or 23.7% of the EU-28 population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
Among them, 43 million (8.1%) were not able to afford a quality meal every second day (defined as living in "severe material deprivation"). The graph below shows the percentage of people living in "severe material deprivation" pr. country in Europe.
Get more data about poverty in Europe here.
European Commission's actions to reduce poverty
The European Commission has made part of its EU 2020 Strategy, to lift at least 20 million people out of living at risk of poverty or social exclusion compared to the year 2008. Read the full EU 2020 Strategy here
The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD)
One of the implementation programs of the 2020 strategy, is the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). This program directly addresses the needs of the most disadvantaged groups, by providing food and other basic items accompanied by social inclusion activities.
The FEAD is administered by the EC-Directorate General Employment and Social Affairs, and implemented in the volunteer Member States through partnerships with distributing social organizations, such as food banks.
Set for the period 2014-2020 with a budget of 3.8 billion euros, complemented by a 0.6 billion euros co-finance by Member states, the FEAD plays an essential role in alleviating food poverty in Europe.
FEAD provides support to millions of people living in poverty and significantly improves their living conditions, by creating opportunities for social and economic re-integration. It also contributes to the strengthening of social cohesion within the European Union.
Read the latest summary on the implementation of the FEAD program in 2015 here.
FEBA advocates for its prolongation of the FEAD program, beyond 2020, with an increased budget to better address the needs of various vulnerable groups.
Another EU program indirectly linked to alleviating food poverty is the "EU Fruit and Vegetables Support scheme"
As part of the crisis prevention and management program in the agricultural sector, the EU is providing funding under certain conditions to farmers' organizations who withdraw fruits and vegetables from the markets. The funding is higher when the products are given for free to recognized charitable bodies like food banks.
Fruits and vegetables are in very high demand in food banks, and although the the quantities received and redistributed vary alot from one year to another, they are very much appreciated by food banks.
Learn more about the EU Fruit and Vegetables support scheme here.
FEBA advocates for additional support in order to enable the transport and /or the transformation into long life products (jam, juice, soup..) for later redistribution to vulnerable people.
On a global level the first two Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations address the issues of poverty and malnutrition and food waste. Goals nr. 1 'End Poverty in all its forms everywhere", nr. 2 'Zero hunger'
Read more about the UN SDG's here.