Cost of food is making us all unhealthy

sack of potatoesThere’s a recession on isn’t there. Apparently things have got so bad that people can’t even afford to eat properly anymore. That’s right- private healthcare provider PruHealth has done some researching and has discovered that more than one in five Brits (22%) are eating less healthily owing to the rising cost of living.

The study, which ran at the start of the financial downturn in 2008 and again in March this year, found that the continuing rise in cost of living means that an equivalent of 10.6 million people across the country are not eating as healthily as they would like to and over half (52%) believe their health has suffered as a result of the recession.  Since 2008, 75% of people say they have changed their eating and shopping habits with 85% of these naming the recession and or rising food prices as the cause for the change.

So why the change in shopping habits? Well, over two thirds (68%) of respondents think  healthier food is more expensive than less healthy alternatives. One in six (16%) people are buying as much as they can that is 'reduced to clear' and one in ten (11%) only buy foods that are on special offer. Around one in four (24%) say they regularly take vitamin supplements because they are unable to eat as healthily as they like.

But is this true? Nutritionists would argue that it is cheaper, and better for you to prepare your own food from scratch, rather than buying ready meals or pre-prepared foods. One banana costs 20p from ASDA, but a Mars bar costs 49p. However, 1kg of ASDA Smart price chips work out at 55p, while a 1kg bag of ASDA Smart Price potatoes are a whopping 59p. And they’re not even peeled.

So there may be cases where it is cheaper to be less healthy. But what about food prices? Food inflation has been bringing up the overall inflation rate for months, and in March, the rate of food inflation alone was at an 18 month high of 5.4%. New figures from the British Retail Consortium show that the rate has now fallen to 4.3% in April, but they warn that further inflationary pressures could be around the corner, including record global prices for soyabean. Mostly seen in pre-prepared and processed foods. And soy sauce.

Dr Dawn Richards, Head of Clinical Service at PruHealth, commented: "We can clearly see how people's healthy eating habits have been affected, with the picture having got significantly worse since the start of the economic downturn. People are only too well aware of the need to eat healthily, but financial constraints are making it difficult, resulting in people's health being negatively affected."

PruHealth, like all health insurance providers, does have a vested interest in keeping you well- after all, they would much rather you paid your premiums while bounding around in rude health, costing them nothing in medical bills. However, if you are that way inclined, PruHealth do offer a points scheme to get savings on doing healthy things (like joining a gym) and give you discounts on unrelated products. Like mobile phones. They even claim you could get more in discounts than your premium costs. They may also cover you if you are uninsurable by other insurers, by offering a moratorium- a period (eg 2 years) where you pay your premiums but you aren’t covered for certain pre-existing conditions.

Or you could save yourself the money, stop eating chips, and live next door to your local NHS hospital instead.


  • Sicknote
    Don't blame the cost of food for making us unhealthy; shops like Asda & Tesco selling shitty high fat, high carb processed food for years has done that. And it's the fatties from Fatsville that buy that shit week in week out that are killing their kids and making them unhealthy.
  • The B.
    I know, I bought 2 haddock fillets in Waitrose on Tuesday, £12 it cost me, extortion, very nice haddock, although I overcooked it slightly.
  • will
    Surely it's cheaper to go to a pet shop and buy a decent sized fish? I doubt it would be more than £12, and you could use the left overs to make some decent koi fish stock
  • The B.
    If you can get an adult haddock sized koi for £12 I'll buy it off you.
  • Inspector G.
    Maybe it's the Supermarket's fault for shafting the public on fruit and veg. Maybe it's the public fault for being lazy - we all know its cheaper to buy potatoes from greengrocers or a market we're just too bone idle to have to go to TWO shops instead of 1. If the supermarket's did compete on vegetables then market traders and greengrocers would all go out of business handing more power to the supermarkets which would be a bad thing. I don't know, I'm the sort of person that uses his work time to comment on internet blogs rather than doing actual work. Maybe McCain et al should impregnate their chips with vitamins like the Turkey fancier Bernard Matthews did with Twizzlers after Jamie Oliver 'dissed' them on TV? That way the fat chavs can continue to to eat their chips and get their required nutrition.
  • thats f.
    Just like to point out that a nutritionist is not a protected term. Any con artist can call themselves a nutritionist for example "dr Mckieth". What you have there is company advertisement press issue.
  • Kevin
    Sorry but it's still really cheap to buy proper healthy food from scratch etc from the major supermarkets. People just don't bother doing that. The basics have gone up in price, but so has everything. It is just as easy to buy healthy food and cook it, it's just not as convienient as buying a £2 lasagna and £1 bag of chips and shoving it in the oven for half an hour. It's just pure laxiness or the inability to accept that anything that isn't processed tastes bad.
  • Rising C.
    [...] cost of living, …One in five Brits eating less healthily since start of recessionNetdoctorCost of food is making us all unhealthyBitterwalletFree exercise on the increasePrivate Healthcare UKall 4 news [...]
    We shop weekly, we eat 3 different types of veggies every night, my son eats his 5 a day on fruit and veggies, and we do not spend more than £30 a week on food. We buy basics, onions, leeks and peppers - all other veggies are bought frozen (yes they are just as nutritional as fresh - but you only use when you need and throw nothing away!) or tinned . 2x whole chickens from our local butcher costs only £6.00 - and they go along way to make stews and soups from scratch- not to mention a good roast with roast tatties and veggies once a week. Its the crap we have done without, no more crisps (we make fresh popcorn instead) and other shit - no more fizzy drinks- its dilute for us. I make homemade biscuits, cupcakes and other treats once a week, when they are gone they are gone ! It is definitely cheaper to cook from scratch - it is just pure laziness of the nation who's mums went to Iceland !!
  • A B.
    @ WYSIWYG Will you be my mommy?
  • Sicknote
    @WYSIWYG Well done and I applaud you; it's a shame we're in the minority in this country.

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