Over one quarter of adults has found it harder to feed their family during the last 12 months, research has shown.
At least 27% found it harder to put food on the table and a further 20% skipped a meal because they can not afford the ingredients.
Over a third, 37%, of UK households admitted to keeping the heating off to ensure that food is available for their children, according to data collected by Tesco, The Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity FareShare.
FareShare chief executive Lindsay Boswell said: "We're now supporting more than 1,000 frontline charities that offer a hot meal and invaluable support to 51,000 people every day.
"Alarmingly, one in five people turning to these charities for help are children under the age of 16."
"Something very serious" is happening "at the bottom of our society" as more and more people use food banks, the Government's poverty tsar told Daybreak.
Frank Field said he had approached the Archbishop of Canterbury to lead an inquiry into the explosion of demand for food banks.
He also expressed shock at how many people needed them to get by.
"If you said to me 30-years-ago that I would be coming on television to talk about this I would have advised you to go into a dark room and actually lie down," he said.
Field admitted the causes behind food poverty were complex, but hit out at the "huge number of landlords" who do not provide kitchens, leaving tenants with only a microwave and pushing them into "expensive diets".
Commenting on the rise in the number of people using foodbanks, a Government spokesman said:
"We have taken action to help families with the cost of living, including increasing the tax-free personal allowance to £10,000 which will save a typical taxpayer over £700, freezing council tax for five years and freezing fuel duty.
"The Trussell Trust itself says it is opening three new foodbanks every week, so it's not surprising more people are using them. They also agree that awareness has helped to explain their recent growth.
"The benefits system supports millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed and there is no robust evidence that welfare reforms are linked to increased use of food banks."