ONE in 10 single adults feared running out of food in the last year due to lack of cash, officials figures have revealed.

The figure for the 16-44 age group includes single parents while one in 10 households with at least two adults was in the same position.

And one in 10 of those in the poorest communities has gone hungry after their wallets ran empty.

Food poverty campaign A Menu for Change said the figures prove “something has gone badly wrong” in one of the world’s biggest economies, while Green MSP Alison Johnstone slammed the Westminster “austerity agenda” for making food insecurity the new normal for some Scots.

She said: “It’s appalling that in wealthy 21st-century Scotland we have so many people either worrying about running out of food due to lack of money or actually going hungry because they’re strapped for cash.”

The figures come from the newly-published Scottish Health Survey, which recorded data on food security for the first time.

Earlier this month, The National revealed how Scotland could become the first country to enshrine a Right to Food amid pressure from opposition politicians and the third sector.

The measure will be written into the Good Food Nation Bill. Pete Ritchie of Nourish Scotland said: “This bill can fundamentally change Scotland’s uneasy relationship with food. We don’t eat well, we export food all over the world yet we have kids going hungry.”

Yesterday’s figures showed 15% of adults in the worst-off communities had “eaten less than they should” because of a lack of money. This compares to 3% in the richest areas.

Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation, said: “This is the first time a national health survey in Britain has included questions on food insecurity.

“Congratulations to the Scottish Government for taking this step. The figures tell an important story.

“This is further evidence that food insecurity in the UK affects millions of households and we desperately need new policies to tackle it.”

Mary Anne MacLeod of A Menu for Change – a project by Oxfam Scotland, the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, Nourish Scotland and the Poverty Alliance – said: “These statistics paint a grim picture of hunger across the country.

“Given Scotland isn’t facing a food shortage, this is clearly a problem of widespread poverty.”

She added: “The figures show 16 to 44-year-olds are most likely to be going hungry. We know low wages, zero-hour contracts, frozen benefit levels and the introduction of Universal Credit are pushing more and more people to the brink.

“When so many people are struggling to make ends meet you know something has gone badly wrong with the system.

“In our rich country no-one should be constantly worrying about how they’re going to feed their kids. We can do better than that. Everyone should be able to access the money they need to put food on the table.”

Calling on the Scottish Government to bring in a £5-per-week child benefit top-up for struggling families, MSP Johnstone said: “The austerity agenda started by the Tories and LibDems in 2010 has played a big role in worsening poverty and eroding social security.”