The Hunger Report Part II: Targeting Specific Needs in the Wake of COVID-19

In the aftermath of Singapore’s “circuit breaker” period during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study sought to determine whether families who were already food insecure faced greater challenges in having their food needs met adequately.


The Hunger Report Part II: Targeting Specific Needs in the Wake of COVID-19 is the first intervention study of its kind in Singapore, delving into how the food situation of previously identified food-insecure households has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This study provides an update on The Hunger Report, a national representative study originally published by SMU’s Lien Centre for Social Innovation (LCSI) and The Food Bank Singapore (FBSG) in 2020, which found that 10.4% of the sampled households experienced food insecurity. In addition, this study also seeks to put into action the recommendation made in the original report about tackling the misalignment of food support services through an intervention, which included (1) administering a Needs Toolkit to understand the unique food needs and preferences of each household, and (2) meeting their food needs through appropriate food support for a period of two months.

As defined by local research on the phenomenon, food security is achieved “when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (Glendinning et al., 2018; Nagpaul et al., 2020). In contrast, household food insecurity comes about when a household does not have or is not confident of having “economic and physical access to sufficient, acceptable food for a healthy life”.


Need for Autonomy in the Food Support Model in Singapore

Giving food-insecure families the autonomy to decide the type of food support they receive accords them the support that they require. It also provides them with dignity by empowering them to decide specifically what type of food support suits their household’s needs.

Furthermore, when the food support rendered is flexible and autonomous in nature, households are able to make purchasing decisions that are of their choice and preference.

Partnerships in the Food Support Ecosystem

The finding that 18.6% of the supermarket voucher expenditure on non-food items is not an insignificant finding. As such, not only is there a need for food on the ground, but also for other essentials such as personal care and household products, etc.

Hence, the authors recommend partnerships between various charities and/or private or public organisations to augment their support, such that it is more holistic and in line with their beneficiaries’ needs. Such collaborations may amplify the impact that each charity would have made had they been working alone

Lead Researcher: Dalvin Sidhu (Lien Centre for Social Innovation)

Access the full study here .

This study was featured at SMU’s booth at the World Cities Summit 2022 exhibition.