Researchers at Oxford University say one in three people who used foodbanks last year was a child.
They have also called for policymakers to reconsider the way the benefit system currently works.
The team from the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College were studying the rising demand for emergency food in West Cheshire.
Report author Dr Elisabeth Garratt said emergency food referrals rose in 2016 and there is “every indication that foodbanks are here to stay”.
She added: “These findings show there are huge levels of poverty – even in a country as wealthy as ours.
“The results suggest that policymakers need to look again at the way the benefits system operates, and ensure that people in work are paid a wage they can live on.”
Last year, nearly 2,900 three-day food supplies were handed out in West Cheshire in North West England.
The study also drew on more detailed data from West Cheshire Foodbank concerning the reasons for foodbank referral and how long people expected their income crisis to last.
The results show that benefit delays accounted for one in five referrals, while benefit sanctions resulted in one in 12 referrals, with one fifth of those affected by sanctions being children.
Although a large proportion of food parcels were concentrated in highly disadvantaged wards, food parcels were distributed to people living in all 46 wards, including more prosperous areas, says the research.
Younger adults, aged 17-24, and those of working-age, aged 25-64 were typically referred because of problems with their benefits.