to think fresh healthy food should be subsidised?

(203 Posts)
kim147 Sun 18-Nov-12 16:50:35

www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/nov/18/breadline-britain-nutritional-recession-austerity

The amount of people getting 5 fruit and veg per day drops by 900,000

"The data show consumption of high-fat and processed foods such as instant noodles, coated chicken, meat balls, tinned pies, baked beans, pizza and fried food has grown among households with an income of less than £25,000 a year, as hard-pressed consumers increasingly choose products perceived to be cheaper and more "filling"."

There's some shocking but not surprising statistics in there about how fruit and veg has gone down. consumption of cheap processed food has gone up - no wonder health outcomes are low for poorer families.

Should certain fresh food be subsidised to ensure people can afford it? Or should people be encouraged to cook more? I think we have a nutritional timebomb.

Bogeyface Sun 18-Nov-12 19:04:22

I totally agree Grendels, if I thought that I had to buy enough berries etc for us for a week we would be bankrupt! There definitely isnt enough focus on the cheaper alternatives that can, if you have a picky eater, also be disguised in sauces etc.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 19:05:38

My local shop on the middle of an estate sells onions and potatoes. Always has brown bananas and nothing else. One frozen food freezer with chips, curry meals and icecream. Nearest supermarket is a mile away. Would cost £2.60 there and back on bus.

He will take your milk tokens in payment for vodka though.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 19:06:21

Sorry I find it hard to believe that many people living in this country can't access good food if they want to.

Our local shop is crap but you could still put together a decent meal for a family without spending a fortune.

whois Sun 18-Nov-12 19:07:39

It's not a cash problem, it's an education/ignorance problem.

Healthy food isn't expensive if you cook from scratch and use tinned or frozen veg. There is nothing wrong with frozen veg, and tinned is totally fine if it's 'in' something like a cottage pie or whatever.

I'm not on board with this stated poor person living 2 hours and £10 away from a supermarket. That is not the reality or 99% of this county's poor. The rural poor have a hard time of it, we all know that, but poverty is not the main reason for poor eating in this country, lack of education and awareness is.

For example people saying they couldn't afford strawberries, well yes that would be a luxury item! There are much cheaper fruit and veg out there.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 19:11:52

I think people are out of touch with the other impacting factors in some people's lives. That trip on the bus might be too much and it's easier to buy some sausage rolls or pork pies from the wee shop next door than spend half your day going to the supermarket. Yes, the options for a better choice are always there. But the hurdles might just feel to big for some people in some situations.

You can't deny that.

Fair point, talkingpeace DH and I often wonder how many people just wouldn't bother with the vouchers... And vouchers aside, you'd stil have to have enough education surrounding food to prioritise healthy eating.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 19:15:07

'I'm not on board with this stated poor person living 2 hours and £10 away from a supermarket. That is not the reality or 99% of this county's poor. The rural poor have a hard time of it, we all know that, but poverty is not the main reason for poor eating in this country, lack of education and awareness is. '

I agree, and I am that person living a tenner and hours away from a big supermarket. It's still not a barrier to our eating healthily because we know how to do it.

Most do live far closer to major shops. We got 'across the water' for things like sacks of tatties and onions and pulses, but they are in our corner shop, too, just more expensive because it has to travel by ferry over a large loch or over a pass that costs just as much as the ferry to cover in diesel.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 19:18:29

I watch the woman over the road with 3 under 5 no her own. She walks the 1.5 mile round trip with a toddler and a baby in a pram to get the oldest to school. No shops on the way. I can see why she doesn't want to walk the rest of the way to Tesco after that. I can understand why she's at the shop a couple of times a day.

She will occasionally go to Iceland as they deliver free. I don't know what they eat but it's easy to see the hurdles to accessing cheap, fresh food.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 19:19:53

There may be some people like that MrsKeithRichards BUT for most that isn't the case and if it is it is down to them not making the effort to change things.

The vast majority of people in this country can access healthy food which isn't extortionately expensive. For most people who don't that is because of the choice they make with their time and/or money not because the options aren't there.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 19:27:17

That's what I'm saying though, the options are there but to some people in some situations they aren't easy to take up for a huge range of issues.

My weekly shop takes me about 15 minutes in forward planning, writing list etc then an hour in the shop once dh is home and the boys are in bed.

For some people it'll be the best part of a day, juggling kids and taxis home etc.

Some people have the inclination, the time and the motivation to get on with that. For others it's just one hurdle to many.

I think we need more fruit and veg cooperatives, more home delivery options (ie shop in store then get it delivered) and cheaper public transport. We got a fancy new asda at the other side of town. They ran a free bus from the estate down for the first year then it vanished. That was a godsend for many up here.

VirginiaDare Sun 18-Nov-12 19:27:23

Iceland is full of frozen veg which is just as nutritious as fresh, if not more sometimes.
Its just that a lot of people choose beige pap instead. Its not money that stope people eating vegetables.

cumfy Sun 18-Nov-12 19:40:10

It already is.

1. Basic food is VAT exempt.
2. EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidises European farmers to the tune of about £40bn/year.

It's become an urban myth that nutritious food is expensive. It is not.

Bogeyface Sun 18-Nov-12 19:43:25

Mrs I was once that woman you described. And did walk to Tesco (actually it was Safeway then) with the baby in the pram and carried a weeks worth of shopping for 4 of us home on the pram and in a massive rucksack on my back, up the steepest hill in England, well it felt like that! It was 5 miles on foot there and back.

kim147 Sun 18-Nov-12 19:49:41

I started this thread to highlight the report. It's one of many that have come out recently - for example, we have parents (mainly mums) going hungry so their DCs get fed, school children turning up hungry at school and now the change in consumption of nutritious food.

Yet as someone said, some things just aren't price sensitive like cigarettes.

But some people do face the heat the house or get decent food in issue. Or maybe they can't afford either.

I do think there's a need for support. It sounds patronising but I do remember Jamie Oliver in the USA where he worked with local parents to get them off convenience / processed food and into making cheap, nutritious meals. I think he did the same in Rotherham as well.

Maybe it's all changed with the growth of the supermarket as opposed to the local grocers / butchers and the daily shop. But who has time for a daily shop now?

cumfy Sun 18-Nov-12 20:05:32

Been looking at the Guardian link, in which they keep referring to data from a study they've commissioned.

But nowhere do they publish the data.hmm

kinkyfuckery Sun 18-Nov-12 20:12:24

Not read the whole thread, but what utter bollocks.

I am a single parent of two young children, who is in receipt of benefits. Our household income is way less than £25,000 a year. I manage to feed myself and my children plenty of healthy, fresh food (and some crap too, for balance wink) on our budget.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 18-Nov-12 20:24:12
Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 21:05:22

mrskeithrichards, I completely agree with you. If you've got a car or a computer then it's fine. If you haven't, then your choices are necessarily limited or made much more difficult than they are for other people. I think it's often forgotten just how influenced people are by things like bus routes (and the price of tickets on them) when they can't run a car or do online shopping and where the only choice available to them is cheap and nasty processed food because that's what the local shop sells. It is very very difficult to provide tasty, nutritious and balanced meals from a corner shop.

Still, I suppose just classing people as ignorant or lazy and writing them off is easier than actually doing something about the growth of out-of-town shopping, the demise of local traders and the massive dearth of local fishmongers/butchers/bakers.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 21:11:12

And good for you, kinkyfuckery. Do you extrapolate from that that everyone who doesn't have exactly the same life as you is ignorant or lazy? Or do you think there may be other factors at play here?

Cozy9 Sun 18-Nov-12 21:13:21

The only reason for not eating healthily in this country is laziness.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Sun 18-Nov-12 21:18:20

For the last two years I've done my weekly shop at Aldi. They have lots of cheap fresh food, including their 'super six' fruit and veg for 69p which changes fortnightly. Their breakfast cereals are cheap. They don't stock much in the way of ready meals, just the odd pizza or ready-made lasagne. I usually spend on average £25-27 per week in there to feed me and 6yo DS, so it's definitely possible to eat decent food cheaply.

However, I appreciate that not everyone is near an Aldi - even mine is a car drive away. I'm a bit worried because I can no longer afford to run a car so I'm 99% sure I'm going to have to get rid of it, which means I'll be restricted to more expensive local shops and online shops with the bigger supermarkets, which will increase my weekly food bill. So it's swings and roundabouts for me, as it must be for many people.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 18-Nov-12 21:21:01

Haven't read the thread.

The issue is ignorance and lack of education, not cost.

People massively overestimate the amount of food that children need to eat and therefore spend too much on piles of crap.
Lunchboxes are a prime example - I give my DS a sandwich made with 2 slices of bread, a piece of fruit or some chopped cucumber and carrot, a drink and a small piece of flapjack or something similar. The cost is minimal, far under £1 a day and that is using good quality ingredients for the sandwiches. Compare that to lunchables, frubes, packets of crisps and biscuit bars and all the other processed crap that people buy on BOGOF in Tecso and Asda because they perceive it as cheap.

That daft woman saying that she was giving her kid a KitKat but couldn't afford a banana - WTF? A banana costs pennies and is more filling than a KitKat. It is ridiculous.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 21:22:58

Most Aldis are out of town or not on bus routes because part of what makes them so cheap is that they never choose city centre locations or places with good public transport links. For this reason, I do always wonder when they are portrayed as the supermarket of choice for people on low incomes - a lot of people on low incomes cannot access Aldi. Or Lidl, for the same reasons.

RawShark Sun 18-Nov-12 21:24:17

I think it's more that we should have some time back from working - then we coudl cook more!

Notcontent Sun 18-Nov-12 21:24:20

If you want to buy healthy ready made food then yes, it's very expensive.
Things like fresh berries are also very expensive.
But, as others point out, basic healthy food is not expensive. The problem is that you actually have to know how to / want to cook it. And so many people think that cooking is just putting something in the oven or microwave.

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