18–24 year-olds were most affected by lack of ready cash, with almost one in five (18%) borrowing money to eat, according to the organisation. More than one in 10 people aged 35–44 did so as well.
And one in 10 in the north east of England and Scotland used credit for food shopping, the DAC reported.
That compared with 5% of UK adults who borrowed money to pay off gas, electricity and water bills during the same period.
“The cost of food, gas and electricity has soared over the past few years,” said Ian Williams of DAC. “Many people use credit cards to buy food every day – sometimes to benefit from loyalty schemes and sometimes just to make ends meet.
“Most of us need to borrow a little money from time to time, but borrowing to pay for essentials such as food and utilities could be a sign that you are struggling financially.”