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.

DozyDuck Sun 18-Nov-12 16:52:43

People should be allowed to eat what they like without being judged. People can't afford to eat fruit and veg, like me, as a carer. But at least I get to eat, even if it is crap.

Children and people with learning difficulties however should be getting enough money to be fed properly.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 18-Nov-12 16:54:32

YABU... Fresh basic food is really cheap, nutritious and filling. Spuds, pulses, eggs, oats, cabbages etc. If the perception is that ready-made food is cheaper it's the perception that needs to change, not the price. And yes, cooking skills are part of the mix because cheap, basic foods are very dull otherwise.

givemeaclue Sun 18-Nov-12 16:55:30

How would the nation afford to subsidiz
Food, it would cost millions?

Suggestions op?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 18-Nov-12 16:59:00

BTW.... as a regular recipient of the stats on national consumption of fruit and veg I can tell you that both the total volume and total value are pretty static at the moment, not going down... There are some adjustments within that. Organic and exotic fruit/veg are on the wane for understandable reasons, for example.

kim147 Sun 18-Nov-12 16:59:08

I know certain fresh food is cheap - just got a bag of carrots for £1.

OTOH - investing / subsidising costs to make it cheaper or investing in an awareness campaign for cooking would have a significant long term effect on public health which prevents more NHS / long term health costs later which has a drain on the coffers.

Much like the investment in public health such as immunisation, sewers and clean water had.

If your family earns under 14k a year, or if you claim certain benefits and yiu have children under 5 you can claim healthy start vouchers. These can only be spent on fruit, veg and milk.

RightUpMyRue Sun 18-Nov-12 16:59:26

Well, it is, for those on benefits and low incomes via healthy start vouchers.

YANBU. My children have 4-5 portions of fruit and veg per day, DH and I maybe 1-2.

Fresh basic food can be filling, yes, but it rarely has enough fruit and veg. If I bought the amount of fresh fruit and veg that I wanted to each week to cook healthily for all my family, it would cost about £25. That's over half my budget. So we make do with frozen veg for pasta and rice dishes and cottage pie type things, baked beans (which are allegedly one of the 5 portions although I'm always a bit hmm about that), fruit and have roasted veg once or twice a week.

Penguins my household has a very low income, we were told that we are not eligible for Healthy Start vouchers. Not everyone is.

AThingInYourLife Sun 18-Nov-12 17:01:38

No more subsidising things that people should be able to afford on a reasonable wage.

YABU, we have a combined income of just over £18,000 and I still manage to give my family fresh fruit and veg every day, and cook from scratch most days. I can't stand processed food

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 17:02:36

Seasonal fruit and veg is pretty cheap to buy generally, even cheaper if you get frozen.

If people WANT to eat healthily there is nothing stopping them, perhaps more education on how to to budget and make healthy meals would be a better use of money.

StuntGirl Sun 18-Nov-12 17:03:04

I've had 9 portions today. I generally manage at least 5 but I do make an effort to include extra portions where I can.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 18-Nov-12 17:03:11

There is already the 'Change4Life' Campaign which is quite well-established.

givemeaclue Sun 18-Nov-12 17:03:48

Not sure there is evidence that making veg cheaper would make people eat more of it and rate the nhs money. Carrots etc are not expensive and probably cheaper than processed stuff. unfortunately op it doesn't seem to be a self funding schemes

kim147 Sun 18-Nov-12 17:05:46

It's a sad report - why have the levels of fruit and veg consumption gone down but that of processed food gone up?

Have we as a nation lost some of our cooking skills? Is it time or can't we just be bothered?

Chandon Sun 18-Nov-12 17:06:13

yabu for buying into government propaganda regarding the "5 a day".

yes, sure veg and fruit are part of a healthy diet.

But this "5-a day or you DIE!" attitude...makes me laugh. All you guys actually counting !!!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 18-Nov-12 17:07:29

Price doesn't determine demand either. Cigarettes are horrendously & deliberately expensive as well as being extremely unhealthy, but that doesn't seem to have change behaviour much.

This is not a new problem in the last few years either. About 10 years ago - in the height of the boom - there was a survey run that showed primary school age children were eating just 2 portions of fruit and veg per week on average (and I mean per week). That sparked the 'fruit for schools' initiative which I think is still going.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 17:09:13

Have we as a nation lost some of our cooking skills

I actually think in a lot of ways cooking skills are increasing as people become more aware of the importance of what we eat.

When I was young chicken nuggets and fish fingers were a big part of the diets of a lot of people. Now more and more people are returning to home cooking.

Of course there is still a long way to go, and I think school food tech lessons need changing to ensure everyone leaves school with the basic skills needed to cook a good meal but things are improving.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 18-Nov-12 17:10:44

"why have the levels of fruit and veg consumption gone down but that of processed food gone up?"

It's not a zero sum game. Consumption of takeaways and restaurant meals have gone down dramatically in the recession. Home cooking is actually on the increase as a result. You could easily find that the processed food is replacing takeaways.

I would rather see a long term investment in cooking skills and food education in schools as it seems to be very hit and miss. I think giving people the knowledge to make their own choices is better. Don't many unhealthy foods already have VAT added?

Ultimately, regardless of cost, many people will choose convenience food so I don't think subsidising fruit and veg would make any difference.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 18-Nov-12 17:15:14

"yabu for buying into government propaganda regarding the "5 a day"."

There's actually some serious research that suggests 7 a day or more has the most health benefits. This was watered down to 5 a day as being more achievable from the base of just 3 a day which was the national average. Fruit and veg consumption in terms of kgs/capita in the UK is consistently about half that of Germany... not a dissimilar society to our own.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 18-Nov-12 17:20:04

Those who do not want to get the healthy eating messages will not do so.
In my local supermarket (in the middle of a massive sink estate)
I see people filling their trolleys to the top with rubbish food and booze and DVDs
they CAN afford good food but choose not to.

Rather than subsidising good food, VAT should be added to ALL foods with more than five ingredients on the packet.
There is VAT on Orange juice, but not on donuts - go figure.

stargirl1701 Sun 18-Nov-12 17:22:21

YABU. Unhealthy food should be taxed. Highly.

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