Lower-income families have to spend up to a third of their income to afford enough food.
That is according to a new Safefood study which also found that 10% of the population lives in 'food poverty'.
The term 'food poverty' is defined as the inability to have an adequate and nutritious diet due to issues of affordability or accessibility.
The study looked at the minimum cost of a healthy diet focusing on "needs" rather than wants.
Poorer households who depend on social welfare, have teenagers or live in rural areas struggle the most.
Ray Dolan, CEO, Safefood said that the report confirms that food poverty is an everyday reality for one in ten Irish households.
"Managing on a tight budget means that families with children, single adults living alone and pensioners have to make stark choices in how they spend their money," said Mr Dolan.
"Food spending is the flexible element of the household budget and people often fill up on cheap food that’s nutritionally poor when prioritising other bills that need to be paid.”
The report shows that there has been a small decline in the proportion of income needed to be spent on a nutritious food basket.