Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

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.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 18:17:22

Yes they are very handy for picnics and the likes, although it probably does work out cheaper to buy a whole piece of fruit and cut it up.

Bogeyface Sun 18-Nov-12 18:27:39

The main problem is ignorance I think. Ignorance of what is actually healthy food compared to what is perceived as healthy, and ignorance of how to cook decent meals on basic ingredients. As has been said, this ignorance can be in 3 generations of a family now, so something does need to be done.

As has been said frozen veg is just as nutritious, and in some cases more so, than fresh. OK so it doesnt taste the same as fresh but that doesnt mean it isnt an acceptable alternative and it has the added bonus of being much less faff to cook if you are not particularly confident in the kitchen. Its also usually cheaper and more economical as you only use what you need.

Canned and dried fruit is good (aslong as you dont get the sort that is canned in syrup). Baked beans are a good choice as they are cheap, easy to prepare and do count as a serving of veg.

The problem is that many people automatically assume that it must be fresh or nothing, so bulk up with potatoes in various forms. Rice, pasta and noodles can be hard to cook if you have little experience so people will buy the ready cooked "convenience" versions, thinking they are just as good when actually they aren't and cost ££ more.

Subsidising healthy food wont work because if people dont want or know how to cook healthily then they wont, no matter how much money you chuck at it. And also, because it is perfectly doable to provide a healthy diet for a family on the minimum of money. I feed 8 of us on a budget of £120 a week including cleaning stuff and nappies and I never spend all that. We never eat convenience foods apart from the odd (think once a month at the most) frozen pizza. It can be done, but education is the key.

Bogeyface Sun 18-Nov-12 18:32:46

A thought has just occurred to me that there are more and more people who actively dislike veg and fruit etc because they weren't brought up with it. My sons GF wont eat any fruit or veg at all because "doesnt like it" but actually, the only veg she has ever eat is peas, and the only fruit was a banana, once, at school sad

So there is that issue too, although I am not sure how that could be addressed apart from encouraging parents to make sure that their children dont go down the same route by weaning them on simple vegetable based recipes.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 18:36:43

My ds is seven and was weaned on fresh veg and fruit. We've had a tough couple of years where he's turned his nose up at everything he used to love! I will not give in though, he still gets it on his plate and will eat it sometimes but it is wasteful. I refuse to make an issue of it but I can see how some people just stop offering it up.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 18:38:53

I find it hard to believe anyone (except those with other problems such as autism and sensory issues) doesn't like any fruit or veg, they are all so different. I am not a massive fruit eater but I will eat most veg.

I think the fruit in schools does help, I remember a child telling me once she didn't like 'those red things' (tomatoes) but when I asked her to have a mouthful and try she was soon asking for seconds.

DS goes to a nursery in an area of quite high deprivation and the food they serve is all freshly prepared, full of fruit and veg and all they manage to get all the children to eat things they have never had before and in a lot of cases are unlikely to get at home.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 18:41:50

It is. You don't pay VAT on it.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 18-Nov-12 18:44:30

Orange Juice has VAT on it ....

Bogeyface Sun 18-Nov-12 18:45:37

I didnt believe it either Sirzy until I saw it with my own eyes.

Mrs I have had that problem with each of mine, they have all gone through a couple of years where they turned their nose up at one thing after another, but they have all grown out of it. Like you, I kept putting it on their plate and insisting that they just ate one piece of everything on their plate. You need a patience of a saint sometimes though grin

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 18:46:12

Then don't drink it if you can't afford it. We drink water with lemon, lime or orange squeezed in. We live in a flat so can't grow much ourselves.

Bogeyface Sun 18-Nov-12 18:47:21

Not strictly true expat some foods that are very healthy have VAT and others that are real crap, dont because of the way it is classified. The doughnuts V OJ argument is a case in point. Why should doughnuts be cheaper than OJ if the government is so keen to keep us healthy?!

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 18:47:35

I agree, Bogey.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 18:48:23

I think it's a pretty poor show to castigate people as being 'ignorant' just because they don't have the same life as you do. For a lot of people, for example, there is a problem with accessing fresh ingredients at all. Not everywhere has a naice little farmer's market with just a darling selection of lovely veggies. What about if you're stuck on some estate with little public transport and your only available shop is a manky little corner shop with loads of frozen nasties and the only vegetables are overpriced and far from fresh anyway? If you don't have a car, you are stuffed in that situation. Sure, you could make a four-hour round trip to the nearest big supermarket involving two buses each way or whatever, but that kind of foraging isn't a priority for most people. And you can forget internet shopping if you can't afford to have a computer.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 18:49:10

Fair enough, Bogey, but I still think it boils down to ignorance.

'Healthy' food can be cheap and easy to prepare, but you're right so many believe it's fresh or nothing when that's not true at all.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 18:50:23

Wallison, I lived in such places and still live in a council house where the nearest shop of any worth is 2.5 miles away.

The corner shop has plenty that's healthy and cheap, it's a matter of knowing what it is.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 18:51:09

Also, beans aren't cheap. At least, Heinz aren't anyway - not any more. And my mythical shopper in her estate with a grand total of one choice of grocer will be buying Heinz if she buys anything, because remember there are no 'value' ranges of healthy food in that shop.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 18:51:17

We rarely eat fresh veg, excepting potatoes and other root veg.

Still very healthy. But it's a matter of knowing what to do.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 18:52:09

Every corner shop on every estate has enough cheap healthy food in it to feed a family a varied and tasty diet?

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 18:52:10

Beans are way cheaper than meat, even Heinz. Even tinned or dried pulses are far cheaper than meat.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 18:52:31

So where do they get other food from Wallision? Even the worst co-op type shops I have been in sell frozen veg and cheap(ish) meat. Everything is those shops is similar overpriced so the logic of they can afford the poor choices but not the good doesn't really work.

I also doubt many people are a 4 hour round trip away from some form of supermarket now.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 18:54:30

Depends on what you find tasty, Wallison.

Bag of red lentils is about a quid, even out here, and we get charged out the wahzoo for food because this is a rural area.

We don't even have big supermarkets, only a small Morrisons and an even smaller Co-Op. Want to go to a big supermarket? On foot, with ferry and train or bus as a foot passenger you're talking a tenner.

Junk costs more, even at the corner shop.

Mousefunk Sun 18-Nov-12 18:55:09

I wasn't brought up eating veg (except for Sunday dinner and Christmas dinner!) and I rarely had fruit.. And now I actually cringe at the crap I was fed. Fast food, chocolate, pot noodles, ice cream/lollies, ready meals and fizzy pop on tap.. Its a wonder I wasn't obese! However despite growing up with such an unhealthy diet I now absolutely love healthy food and raise my kids on a healthy diet too.

I was a very poor cook when I first left home (to the point where I thought you took a quiche out of its tinfoil and then put it in the oven, yes I did that blush) but since having kids i've had to learn and now love cooking! Its not tough to follow simple instructions and I think a lot of it is down to laziness tbh..

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 18:55:52

Sorry - the particular local shop my mythical person shops does not, in common with my own local shop, sell tinned or dried pulses.

GrendelsMum Sun 18-Nov-12 18:58:53

My theory is that the '5 a day' campaign has inadvertently worked to promote a message that healthy = expensive.

In order to make the range of fruit and veg sound varied and delicious to people who aren't currently eating them, they frequently suggest things like blueberries, strawberries, grapes, etc, which tend to be much more expensive and go off more quickly.

'5 a day' campaigns tend not to stress cheap locally-sourced seasonal veg and fruit, like cabbage, carrots, and apples, that you can buy cheaply in a market.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 19:01:36

Sirzy, if I look at the food that's available to buy where I am, like I said it's cheaper to buy four shitty pies than to make one good one. A massive (shit) pizza would easily feed 3 kids for £1.25. There are no lentils. Or any other pulses. Even tinned tomatoes are expensive in the shops here - 75p last time I looked. They stopped stocking porridge oats a while ago and instead have those little quaker sachets that cost an absolute bomb. Or you can get cheap shitty chocolate non-branded cereal instead, because it's cheaper than eating porridge that way.

Bogeyface Sun 18-Nov-12 19:01:50

My local shop is a crap hole and even that sells enough stuff to manage, as I had to when I was ill, pregnant and had no transport. It wasnt ideal but on the weeks when I had no one to help me out with shopping, it did its job. We had some interesting combinations, but we ate healthily.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now