How many people can afford a proper meal in the EU?

July 10, 2023

In 2022, 8.3% of the EU population were unable to afford a meal containing meat, fish or a vegetarian equivalent every second day, one percentage point (pp) higher compared with 2021 (7.3%). Moreover, considering people at risk of poverty, in 2022 the share at EU level was 19.7%, 2.2 pp higher than in 2021 (17.5%).

In 2022, the difference between total and at-risk-of-poverty population in terms of capacity to afford a proper meal was also visible across EU countries: the highest share of people at risk of poverty unable to afford a proper meal was recorded in Bulgaria (44.6%), followed by Romania (43.0%) and Slovakia (40.5%). On the other hand, the lowest share was recorded in Ireland (5.0%), followed by Luxembourg (5.1%) and Cyprus (5.6%).



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The capacity to afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish or vegetarian equivalent every second day is among the items observed at household level to calculate the severe material and social deprivation rate. This is one of the headline indicators of the European Pillar of Social RightsSocial Scoreboard of indicators.

The capacity to afford a proper meal is also part of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The second goal “Zero hunger” (SDG 2) seeks to eradicate hunger and all forms of malnutrition, while ensuring access to safe, nutritious and adequate food.

You can find out more about the EU’s progress towards the SDGs with the following products:

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Methodological notes

  • Cyprus and France: provisional data.
  • The at-risk-of-poverty rate is the share of people with an equivalised disposable income (after social transfer) below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60 % of the national median equivalised disposable income after social transfers.