This joint survey by the Food Standards Agency, Foodsafe and the Consumer Council in Northern Ireland finds that low income families need to spend at least one third of their weekly income on food if they want to eat healthily. This percentage was the result when consumers were asked to select a realistic, healthy food basket that met the family’s taste requirements and included some special food items for visitors and social occasions.
A parallel FSANI report, Understanding food in the context of poverty, economic insecurity and social exclusion, highlighted a number of factors that were trapping segments of society in a food poverty cycle. The high cost of eating healthily, declining cooking skills and the fact that other expenses such as energy bills took precedence over food bills meant that people were buying cheaper and less nutritious food.
This may indicate that the failure of government healthy eating campaigns were therefore not lack of interest but rather lack of economic resources.
Read more about food and poverty in our research library.