Families cut back on fresh food as fruit and veg prices soar

The benefits of cooking with your kids

A UK study of 15,000 households has revealed that the rising cost of fruit and veg has led many young families to opt for less healthy, processed alternatives.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the cost of fruit has risen 34% since 2007, a change that hasn’t gone unnoticed by many UK families.

The study in question shows a clear correlation between the rising cost of fresh food, the stagnation of wages and the amount families are now spending on cheaper products.

The study also shows that it is pensioners, single parent households and young families who have experienced the most significant drop in diet quality – a shift that sparked concerns over the health of UK children, who are already considered to be among the unhealthiest in Europe.

The report was compiled from food purchasing data gathered from almost 16,000 households in Britain between 2005 and 2012. Examining data from this period allowed the experts to analyse the impact of the recession, since which households have spent an average of 8.5% less on food across this period as disposable incomes have failed to match the rising cost of food.

During the worst of the recession and even now, people have responded to higher food prices by stocking up on more calorie dense processed food. While this change may have helped to reduce a family’s weekly food bill, it hasn’t come without a cost – as cheaper calories tend to contain a higher volume of fat and sugar.

If you are feeling the pinch and are struggling to cook healthy and nutritious daily meals on your budget, a nutritionist may be able to help. While the initial outlay of a nutritionist might seem like an unnecessary expense, they could help you to put together healthy and nutritious weekly meal plans that will provide sustenance on a budget. View our Healthy Eating page for further information. 

View and comment on the original BBC article.

If you have any tips, advice or recipes for feeding the family on a budget, please share them in the comments below.

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Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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