It comes as food banks report widespread increase in use, and just weeks after panic buying saw supermarket shelves cleared of vital everyday necessities.
Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation, said: “We cannot rely on food banks to support the millions of people who need emergency food aid during this crisis: it is too big a problem, and urgently requires substantial investment from central government.
“The government must put money in the pockets of families who can’t afford food, and support local authorities to scale up the food response for those who are self-isolating so they can secure enough food to sustain themselves and their children.
“Other countries are doing this, so can we.”
The survey of 4343 adults suggested that, of the 16 per cent of the population facing food security issues, 21 per cent did not have enough money to pick up supplies while 50 per cent were impacted by food shortages.