Almost a million adults and children received emergency supplies from food banks in the past year - a "shocking" rise of 163% on the previous 12 months - a new report has revealed.
The Trussell Trust said rising numbers were turning to food banks because their incomes are "squeezed", despite signs of an economic recovery.
A record total of more than 913,000 people received three days' emergency food in the last year, with over half blaming benefit delays or changes.
The trust now has more than 400 food banks across the UK, although it is opening two a week compared with three in 2012/13.
Reinvigorating the economy is the answer to the food poverty crisis and not further state intervention, according to the Institute for Economic Affairs.
A study commissioned by the Trussell Trust revealed three times as many people received a food package between April and September, as the same period last year.
Ruth Porter said ensuring economic recovery was the "ultimate answer" in tackling poverty, arguing high taxation and state intervention was not the solution.
However, Tim Nichols from Child Poverty Action insists there are things that can be done to make it fairer for those struggling at the bottom such as tackling tax-dodging.
Labour's new shadow work and pension secretary, Rachel Reeves, has said figures showing an increase in the use of food banks reflects the situation of 'struggling families'.
Ms Reeves said many of those using food banks were in employment, but were still struggling to cope with the cost of living.
The Labour MP suggested the figures reflected an economy which was not doing well for "ordinary people".
"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".
A food bank charity is calling for an inquiry into the explosion of the number of people relying them, as they found demand for their services "tripled" in the space of a year.
"The numbers are rising fast. That is why we believe we need to grip the problem and understand what is behind it," said Chris Mould.
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."
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady described the numbers of people turning to foodbanks in the UK as "shocking".
The Chancellor is talking up a recovery - but for who? These new figures show that, despite trying desperately hard to make ends meet, hundreds of thousands of people still can't afford to put food on the table for their families.
Welfare reforms like the Bedroom Tax have pushed more households into food poverty.
David Cameron has come under pressure to launch an inquiry into why people are turning to foodbanks as demand for the services continue to surge.
More than 350,000 people received a three-day food package from the Trussell Trust between April and September, three times as many as the same period last year.
It has written to the Prime Minister calling on him to look into the "scandalous" problem of food poverty, warning some foodbank recipients are so poor they have returned produce that needs cooking because they cannot afford the electricity to heat it up.
Trussell Trust executive chairman Chris Mould said: "We said in April that the increasing numbers of people turning to foodbanks should be a wake-up call to the nation, but there has been no policy response and the situation is getting worse. The level of food poverty in the UK is not acceptable.
"It's scandalous and it is causing deep distress to thousands of people. The time has come for an official and in-depth inquiry into the causes of food poverty and the consequent rise in the usage of foodbanks."
Pamela receives food from The Trussell Trust foodbanks, she says without them she would have to borrow money and it would be "chaos."