to think fresh healthy food should be subsidised?

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

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.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 18-Nov-12 17:25:28

Unhealthy food should be taxed
Define and define ......
butter is unhealthy, as is sugar - should they have VAT on?
orange juice is healthy but DOES have VAT on ....
salt is unhealthy but essential
too much red meat is unhealthy

all of the politicians are in the pay of the food industry

AnAirOfHopeForSnow Sun 18-Nov-12 17:39:59

I just cant believe the report.

Cooking is a life skill everyone needs. Why are parents not only teaching healthy eating to their kids but how to perpare and cook fresh food?

My three yo ds helped me prepare ginger, garlic peppers and watched me fry salmon fillets today. When i cook he helps or watches. He tries different food each week and i take him shopping with me and i point out the diffetent fruit veg and fish meat.

We are planning on growing our own veg in tubes next year as well.

Because its fun and he will need to know how to cook when he is an adult. Its not hard to do healthy basic cooking!

TalkinPeace2 Sun 18-Nov-12 17:42:34

because many parents have never eaten at a table with a knife and fork in their lives
so how would they show their children how to do something of which they have no knowledge

BertieBotts Sun 18-Nov-12 17:42:54

It is subsidised. Families on low incomes with youung children get Healthy Start vouchers. YABU.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 18-Nov-12 17:47:36
Family income of £16,000 or less ....
Only some shops accept the vouchers and they are to the grand sum total of £3.10

you who have kitchens to cook in seem to think that a pittance of a handout will make it all better.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 17:50:34

Sadly true Bertie. Of course the education SHOULD come from parents but that only works if they have been taught themselves.

There is help avaiable to parents in most areas but that is only any good I parents take the help on offer. That is why it needs to be done in schools from a young age so the next generation all have these skills

AnAirOfHopeForSnow Sun 18-Nov-12 17:50:52

We dont have a table but we do have a kitchen, pots, pans and a cooker smile

Bonsoir Sun 18-Nov-12 17:53:10

Seasonal, locally (or even nationally) grown vegetables are cheap and nutritious - carrots, swedes, turnips, parsnips, cabbage, onions, leeks etc are all grown in the UK and can be cooked in many delicious ways. Pulses are are also cheap and nutritious.

AnAirOfHopeForSnow Sun 18-Nov-12 17:54:51

Talking - there are free cooking classes at the sure start centres. As a parent i think its my job to learn these things mxself so i can teach my children.

Most things im learning when im doing them with my children. It benefits the whole family but you need the motavation to want to learn.

Mandy2003 Sun 18-Nov-12 17:55:39

I used to buy several packs of different fruit per week, but this year even when it was in season I just would not pay £2 for a few strawberries, raspberries or grapes. Luckily apples and bananas are still £1 per pack but strawberries are now £2.25. That's as much as I spend on fresh meat in a week!

stargirl1701 Sun 18-Nov-12 17:55:52

Unhealthy food as in highly processed food.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 17:56:29

I think frozen and tinned alternatives aren't well promoted. Often a lot cheaper, quicker and easier.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 17:57:07

Sorry meant talkingpeace not Bertie!

AnAirOfHopeForSnow Sun 18-Nov-12 17:59:11

What are pulses please? blush

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 18:01:10

Lentils and shit I assume!

Mandy2003 Sun 18-Nov-12 18:01:12

Lentils, dried peas and beans, that sort of thing Air

Talkingpeace you get £3.10 per 2-5 yr old and 6.20 for under 1yr olds. Also 3.10 if your pregnant. It's not a fortune, but I have to say, it's really helped us out.

StuntGirl Sun 18-Nov-12 18:01:43

Nope I'm well aware different governments have different amounts depending in what they thought the people would go in for. Japan and Sweden have much higher 'targets' for example.

Laughing at people trying to eat healthily makes you come across as a tool. Who cares what other people eat?

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 18:03:06

Mandy I agree. Grapes are always the most expensive thing on my receipts. I do buy quite a lot because it's the only fruit dh readily eats, apart from strawberries and watermelon, and ds loves them too.

AnAirOfHopeForSnow Sun 18-Nov-12 18:05:53

Thanks blush

TalkinPeace2 Sun 18-Nov-12 18:08:04

but the fact that you are even on this thread shows that you care.
How many of the mums at the sure start do?

Seriously, I see kids whose parents are third generation unemployed with iphones, blackberries and talking about watching sky at home - priorities are all wrong

I audited a youth club that did a weekly "cook and eat" session.
Many of the 15 years olds admitted that that they only ate at a table with cutlery that once a week. SCARY. They did not know how to use a knife to cut up meat. at 15

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 18:10:10

Haven't tinned vegetables had the fuck boiled out of them before they get canned? As for frozen, yes to peas and sweetcorn - and spinach if you don't want it just 'wilted'. Broad beans are fine too. But frozen broccoli and cauliflower are pretty rank and frozen carrots just don't taste the same ime.

I think it is a problem that the very cheapest food is not always the most nutritious. For example if you're thinking about puddings it is cheaper to buy a massive box of nasty ice-cream than it is to buy a small pot of yoghurt. For snacks, a punnet of grapes is significantly more expensive than a bag of haribo. It costs more to buy nice meat and make a pie than it does to get a pack of four horrible pies full of salt and arseholes. Etc.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 18:10:42

Sometimes people have so much other stuff going on in their lives, so many other pressures and stresses, that even classes at surestart can't convince them to spent time over meals

AnAirOfHopeForSnow Sun 18-Nov-12 18:12:32

I like Asda because the have five fruit bags for £1, bunch of Bananas and apples for £1. Then a bag of raisens for £1.

I work it as one glass of oj or smoothy
one banana
one box of raisens
then 3 different veg with dinner
equals our 5aday.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 18:14:26

Oh I like the sound of the 5 bags for £1 is that the wee sliced apples and grapes like you get with a happy meal?

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.

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.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 21:27:27

I can get 8 kitkats from poundland. 8 bananas from a supermarket costs £1.15. So kitkats are cheaper than bananas.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 21:28:10

very true Ali

When i am out DS often asks for a pear, it costs under 30p from a local greengrocers. Yet I know of people who 'can't afford' fruit yet their children stuff their faces on chocolate and happy meals.

In the vast majority of cases it is down to the choices people make, either through ignorance or laziness, which are to blame for the poor diet. Its easy to look to blame everyone and anyone else but everyone makes the choices as to what they spend their money on.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 21:31:33

Yes, you can buy healthy food cheaply. You need to have access to that healthy food though, and without a car or a computer that is becoming increasingly difficult. I look at the area I live in as an example of what has happened in towns and cities across the UK. At every street corner of the terraces there are houses that are bigger than the rest of the houses on the street. That is because those houses used to be shops. Shops that sold fresh fruit and veg, that were butchers or grocers or bakers or even fishmongers. But all of that is gone now. And that is just one little area in one little town. Replicated across the country, you have properly convenient food shopping with proper choice restricted to out-of-town places, and there are plenty of people who have been left behind by this move.

kim147 Sun 18-Nov-12 21:31:49

You go to a local shop and it's hard to find fresh fruit for sale. It's very easy to find chocolate as it's normally in front of the till.

OldMumsy Sun 18-Nov-12 21:31:58

No actually OP you should be solely in charge of everyones eating menus so you can personally control everything. I hope you are happy with this, some people could think you are a bit of a control freak though, although i couldn't possibly comment.

kim147 Sun 18-Nov-12 21:32:55

YY to what wallison said.

It can be a long walk to our local shops for many people who do not have transport.

Not sure if it has been mentioned elsewhere in the thread but it would be really helpful if childrens centre could offer more help/advice on this. Without going into too much detail on here I attended a couple of classes when i had my first dc and it transformed me into i hope a better parent. Not everyone is lucky enough to learn these things as a child (not just about food but about care and showing children affection, playing etc) and just having someone tell me how to made 100% difference. Alot of advice out there on parenting including cooking/meal planning assumes a basic level of knowledge which alot of people through no fault of their own just dont have.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 21:35:28

Same here. We have a little row of houses which used to be a butchers, a deli and a greengrocers. Now they're houses and it's just the local shop left.

His milk is £1.64 for 2l. I buy mine for 89p for 2l in Aldi.

kim147 Sun 18-Nov-12 21:36:11

oldmumsy People can eat what they want to eat. It's their choice.

Don't you think it's a bit of a concern that people are choosing to spend less on certain types of food that will affect their and their children's health during this recession?

Or should we not give a shit about public health?

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 21:37:59

I simply cannot subscribe to the motion that people are simply lazy, ignorant and stupid.

Also sitting at a table isn't the be all and end all of functioning meal times and cannot be used as an indicator to the quality of what people eat.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 18-Nov-12 21:41:16

Wallison where do you shop? I buy loose bananas, and get 6 or 7 for about 70 pence. The ones that come in bags are more expensive.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 21:41:21

We cannot access Aldi or Lidl. And if it's a choice of 15p, and don't come out with this, you may not have it while we're on our emergency credit in the leccy meter till Wednesday, praying the £7 lasts till then, you pick the better choice for your kids IF YOU KNOW HOW.

We don't even have a Poundland or anything like it.

Pixel Sun 18-Nov-12 21:41:24

I'm sceptical about the figures showing fruit and veg consumption is down anyway. It might be down but not as much as the figures show if they are basing solely on shop purchases. After all there are record waiting lists for allotments even though they have been halving the size of plots to try and get the lists down so obviously people still have a taste for fresh food. Also the seed companies have been reporting that sales of veg seeds have overtaken sales of flowers (suttons for example) so many more people are growing food in their gardens/yards even on balconies. This must all skew the figures.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 21:42:02

I have never been to a corner shop which sells other food which doesn't sell some sort of fruit and veg. Maybe not the best selection and normally more expensive than in a supermarket (like everything else) but they sell it.

People on this thread have given plenty of examples of how it is more than doable. In most cases it is down to poor choices.

I live in a town with plenty of choices for shopping, all within a very cheap bus ride or less than 20 minutes walk of the residential areas yet there are still plenty of people who have horrendous diets, whos children start school knowing nothing about fruit and veg but as experts on McDonalds (which is situated a few seconds walk from Aldi!) - there is NO reason for that except for bad choices by the parents be that through laziness or lack of education. The education is easily accessible and offered to new parents though.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 21:42:10

And certainly if it's between Sky TV and the bananas.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 21:43:17

And fresh is not the be all to end all.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 21:45:08

I don't think it's down to laziness either, mrskeithrichards. Especially not when availability of produce has changed out of all recognition with the loss of local traders and the rise of huge supermarkets on ring-roads. Surely it's only reasonable to suppose that this has had an impact on people's shopping habits?

And I agree with you about the sitting at a table thing. A lot of people just do not have a big enough house to accommodate this, which is nothing to do with how well they want to feed their kids and everything to do with the insane cost of housing in this country. Not everyone has a dining room because for a lot of people if they have two rooms downstairs then one of them is used as a bedroom. And people who live in flats only have the one area of living space anyway, quite often.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 21:45:27

Where is that education? We don't have surestart centres here.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 21:46:40

We don't and never have had a dining room. We live in a council flat.

It doesn't have to be a table, it can be healthy food that is cheap.

Notcontent Sun 18-Nov-12 21:48:47

I think we should all care.
I live in a very mixed part of London. You get the kids whom have a bowl of porridge for breakfast at home. And you get kids who have a chocolate bar and a soft drink on the way to school. What is the difference - cost? No.

This is going to be an even bigger issue in the future because the cost of food around the world is rising. Food used to be expensive, but then we had a few decades of cheap food. We will all need to start to look at food in a different way.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 21:48:49

'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 ) on our budget'

It's doable.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 21:49:58

Alibaba, I got the price of the bananas by looking at Sainsbury's online. They are the 'basics' bananas. The others are even more expensive than that. If you were buying them in a corner shop they would of course be even more expensive still.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 21:52:10

And the Kitkats in the corner shop are far more than a quid for 4, too. They're about 60p/packet in ours.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 21:52:20

Schools offer support and lessons for parents (which have a good take up but there are still parents who refuse the support and they are often the ones who could benefit more), surestart centres offer help.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 21:54:25

If we are using sainsburies as an example then lets use it fairly. Their website also shows that 8 kit kats is £2.89

maleview70 Sun 18-Nov-12 21:55:01

My grandad smoked 40 fags a day for 40 years until he was 55, he never ate lean meat always eating the fat on the meat, put more salt on his tea than I use in a week, ate boiled sweets daily, loved chocolate and drank full cream milk all his life. He died at the age of 89 having lived independently all that time.

Genetics play a big part in how long you live so I'm of for a bag of crisps and a whisky!

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 21:55:12

Surestart is getting nixed though, isn't it. So all of those thick lazy parents who cram shit burgers down their kids' throats won't have anyone to give them guidance before too long.

kim147 Sun 18-Nov-12 21:56:15

Hasn't the Coalition cut funding to SureStart centres?

You've only got to look at Jamie Oliver's shows with schools and parents to see how "well" some people do food.

And it does not help with access to food being difficult for many people. The health outcomes for the most deprived ward in my city are depressing and you can almost see the difference in people's faces as you walk round that part of town.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 21:57:02

Some people just need help with other shit in their lives. They feed their children, they might be able to do that healthier and cheaper if they invested more time and energy into it. That's not always possible for some people. It's a sad fact that the less money you have the smaller your world becomes, the bigger little problems might seem and how issues like this slide off your scale of things to worry about.

Maybe if we supported people more with other issues they'd have the energy to put into providing healthier meals.

To summarise, I don't think healthy food needs to be subsidised. It needs to be more accessible. As does the education about how to store, prepare and incorporate healthy options into your life.

I'm bloody lucky, it's second nature to me to be frugal, inventive and to never sit down to a plate of food without a portion of fruit or veg included. I know how to cook and shop. I have my wonderful mother to thank for this. I drive, I have the means to keep a car on the road meaning I can source my food, make the most of the choices available to me. I even have room for a table in my lounge.

I will not call anyone with less luck than me ignorant, stupid or lazy. I've worked with enough people who are barely surviving, never mind living. They do what they need to do to get through a day.

kim147 Sun 18-Nov-12 21:59:36

Agree with that, mrskeith

I was trying to raise debate with the OP. The title was merely an opener to what is a very complex and real issue.

I agree mrskeith - there is a cycle of neglect that has to be broken. If you grow up in a house where people scream rather than talk, where children find their own food on the way to school and eat whatever they can find when they get home etc then that is how you raise your children. For alot of people being shown how to do things differently is enough, but someone actually has to show them.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 22:02:24

I work with local schools, not one offers cooking classes, like I said no surestart either. Advice is not freely available.

Look at Jamie the twat Oliver and his 15 minute meals. They all must cost about £15 as well as requiring an array of weird and wonderful ingredients. Now, I'm not blaming Jamie for all that is wrong but imagine you decide ok, I'm going to try and cook from scratch. Tune in to his show at tea time and think 'what the fuck' and stick some fish fingers in the oven.

I'd love to see a show for fast, cheap and easily sourced meals.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 22:03:23

Thats the problem though, people need to want to be showed. I have been in schools where they run courses for parents, or for parents to come in and cook with their children. They have offered creche facilities for younger siblings and some parents still won't take up the offer.

There is only so much that can be done to educate people who don't want to be educated.

ha yes i was given the 30 minute meals book last christmas and tried out the cauliflower cheese, it cost about 3 times what i normally spend on a main meal which is ok as a treat but not exactly practical day to day! (it was gorgeous though).

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 22:07:29

But it's not that simple. Why don't they want to be educated? What else is going on? Are they stressed, avoiding door step lenders, living in damp conditions and at loggerheads with the council over it? Has their brother just overdosed? Has their mum been sectioned again?

You can't just write people off. The help should be there when someone is ready for it.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 22:10:07

If anything, all of the food porn on telly is more likely to put people off than to get them started cooking, because it's all so complex and esoteric and contains ingredients that just can't be found easily. If you aren't confident in the kitchen, watching one of those programmes will just put you off even trying. I mean, they are just dispiriting (similar to how watching Location Location Location will make you despair of ever finding a house you can afford).

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 22:11:26

Nobody is saying write people off. Not all families have other things going on, some simply don't want the help and support.

That help should be there for everyone but you can't force it on people. People need to want to change before they can. You can come up with as many excuse as you want but that doesn't change the fact that for some families it is as simple as them not wanting to change.

kim147 Sun 18-Nov-12 22:11:44

mrskeithrichards You're describing so many of the issues in the report on my city for the most deprived ward.

Feeding the kids a decent meal is just one more thing to think about,

fuzzpig Sun 18-Nov-12 22:12:23

I helped run a free cooking course in my local children's centre (with free crèche), it was great, but the two people who had been referred by HVs (as opposed to the others who had asked to sign up) didn't come to any of the sessions. You can't make people want to learn how to cook.

Junk food can be quite addictive IME so even if you do learn to make healthy food it can be really difficult not to cave after a while.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 22:14:32

I don't think it's ever that simple really.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 22:17:34

It is.

Even having a chaotic home life only excuses things so much anyway, most of the things you mentioned make life harder yes but they don't mean that they shouldn't take support to improve areas of life in their control and to make things better for their children.

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 22:19:45

Really? Don't you think some people are in such shit situations that they are doing well enough just getting food on the table at the moment? Never mind dealing with being told there's something else you're doing shit at by the way.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 22:20:26

mrskeith you have made some excellent points about the often intolerable pressures that some people, especially those on low incomes or caring for someone with disabilties or illness, face. If all of your headspace is taken up with just getting through the day, then fucking around trying to shop healthily when the odds are stacked up against you to do so is very difficult. I certainly don't think people who take the path of least resistance are doing so because they are feckless or stupid.

fuzzpig Sun 18-Nov-12 22:20:27

Wallison you are so right about the cooking programmes. I can knock up a few decent meals, but I am not at all confident in the kitchen - I have issues with coordination, timing and multitasking, and they really show up if I'm trying to cook something even vaguely new. It is only this year age 25 that I have found out these problems (along with many others obviously) are actually part of an ASC (with traits dyspraxia/ADD) - that's about 14 years I've had of feeling like a failure because I can't cook without getting flustered and upset and messing it up.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 22:21:27

Well the thing is Sirzy that obviously it isn't that simple, otherwise everyone would be doing as you say.

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 22:24:02

But the help is there for people in shit situations. If they can be helped to cook better on their tight budgets that is going to remove a big chunk of the pressure. The issue is too often people aren't willing to accept the help when its offered.

I also think you are being quite naive to believe there are people who simply don't want to change and don't care. I know there are because I have met too many of them over the years. Only so much support can be offered.

Wallison Sun 18-Nov-12 22:41:06

fuzzpig, I'm also not a bad cook in that I cook pretty much everything from scratch (I do need a recipe though - I'm not one of those wonderful people who can just look in the cupboard and throw together some kind of wonderful creation) but like you if I try something new I invariably get flustered and it always takes me at least three times as long as it should for every stage so my timing goes all to cock, so I sympathise. And if I've had a shit day or am feeling tired or whatever then I do just think 'fuck it' and bung a pizza in the oven, so I can see the temptation to do this for people for whom every day is a shit day.

Haberdashery Sun 18-Nov-12 22:43:33

I don't think it's about literally not being able to afford carrots. We all know people can. And it's not even about not being able to cook a cheap but tasty meal of lentils or chickpeas and rice and veg. Anyone who really wants to can find out how to do this. It's about being in a situation where there are few pleasures that you can really afford, and where there are few pleasures available to you a bag of chips or a pizza from Iceland will do. George Orwell wrote about this in the great depression getting on for eighty years ago and it is both sad and awful that things have not changed.

I'm not poor. I'm quite rich, actually, compared to most people, although much the same as everyone I find my budget doesn't stretch quite as far as it once did and food has got more expensive, but when I feel like something to cheer me up I am not as likely to choose an apple as I am to choose a sausage sandwich on white bread with butter and ketchup, or indeed a pizza or a kebab or whatever. The difference is that I can, if I wish, choose strawberries out of season or a mango, which feels like much more of a treat than an apple or a carrot. And that I have other pleasures available to me, lots of which cost money and lots of which are unavailable to people who are having a much harder time than me. Things are only going to get worse for people who haven't got a lot of money and it won't be because they are feckless individuals who can't be arsed to feed their families properly. It will be because their real incomes are shrinking daily and they have little prospect of increasing them in real terms.

We all know that you can live perfectly well on cheap veg and staples but we are, here, by and large, people who are more informed than average and who are willing to go the extra mile to feed our families as well as we can. But lots of people are just not able to do that. It's not because they're selfish feckless bastards who deserve everything they get. It's because the poverty of a life lived in the shadow of never being able to get out of the trap grinds down your aspirations so that you might as well just go to the chippie because it feels like a treat and it's fun and you're not going to get any fun otherwise.

I hate this idea that people just feed their kids crap because they don't know how to do anything else. It's much much worse than that. People feed their kids crap because crap is more fun than not eating crap and they simply don't have the inner resources to do otherwise (NOT their fault and am not suggesting that it is).

Haberdashery Sun 18-Nov-12 22:45:41
expatinscotland Mon 19-Nov-12 00:06:01

Since my daughter died, every day is complete shit. I wake up every morning, and the first thing I think is, 'OMG, A's still dead!' I go to sleep at night replaying her death in my mind, sometimes fantasizing that she breathed and lived. A miracle! I know she didn't, and often fall asleep crying.

Everything is a struggle. My H has LD. We're on ADs and seriously, well, we're on our emergency credit in the meter till Wed., let's hope it lasts!

But we have two little kids to feed and honestly, it's about education and wanting something else. It's a druggery most of the time but ffs, it's not about me anymore.

We live in the middle of bumarse nowhere and DH works shifts. It's the bus or the corner shop for me if I left it out on the one big shop we do when tax credits come in.

But Sky and KitKats over even a jeely piece (Scottish for a jam sandwich)? Get real.

sashh Mon 19-Nov-12 00:13:20


It's not just buying thoug is it? You have to get it home, and you have to cook it. If you are on a pre pay meter you might have enough electric to run a ring for 10 mins, but not the oven.

So baked potatoes will take you into the emergency power, chips won't.

There is also storage, freezers cost to run, tins can sit in a cupboard for months.

expatinscotland Mon 19-Nov-12 00:42:20

Still cheaper to cut up the raw potatoes and fry them up on that hob that run the bloody cooker.

It's a choice, but only if you know it is. Once you do, it is a choice.

samandi Mon 19-Nov-12 12:58:25

YABU, fresh and healthy food is cheaper than stuff like packet noodles and pizza.

FredFredGeorge Mon 19-Nov-12 13:12:45

"EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidises European farmers to the tune of about £40bn/year."

Except of course that subsidy goes to the farmers, it doesn't make food cheaper, it makes it more expensive fro the consumer.

However not much of it applies to fruit or vegetables so doesn't matter to the subject at hand.

I'm much more concerned about lack of exercise than food variety in any case - if people are really too lazy to walk a mile to the shop with cheap food and use that as a justification for bad eating then the lack of fitness will cause more health problems than the macro-nutrient mix.

Emsmaman Mon 19-Nov-12 13:20:36

I agree that a lot of it comes down to the cooking.

When it comes to snacks, price is a ridiculous argument unless you live in the middle of nowhere. I have never paid more than 10p for a banana, vs a pack of crisps at 50p. I have hovis brown bread in the freezer bought up for 10p end of day, if we're going out DD will happily eat that as a snack or lunch with some Philadelphia (1/2 price in Sainsbos at present, 74p a tub).

Agree that veg doesn't have to be fresh, my understanding is that frozen can actually have more vitamins because it hasn't been sat in transportation and on shelves for days.

Wonder how many people also buy lovely fresh veg then boil it, losing a lot of goodness in the water? I love my steamer and am a complete convert : )

soontobeburns Mon 19-Nov-12 13:21:35

I think healthy food is more expensive.

I'm on benefits and don't drive so I do ten to stick to unhealthy food.
Supermarkets are too far to walk so is £5 for taxi there and back plus fresh food usually has a shelf life of 4 days so twice a week I would need to go and get some.

I splashed out on Thursday on fresh and spent £27 by Saturday most was out of date or going off. I just can't justify it tbh.

expatinscotland Mon 19-Nov-12 13:25:14

You don't need to buy fresh for it to be healthy.

Spockster Mon 19-Nov-12 13:26:20

The Guardian this weekend also had an article where a Mum was rightly bemoaning the cost of healthy food for her kids. However, she said she usually put a sandwich into his lunch box, together with a KitKat, a bag of crisps and a banana if she could afford it. Why doesn't she ditch the KitKat and crisps for a start, making lunch already healthier, and add an apply or dried fruit? I just don't get why people don't yet it. She sounded fairly bright and well informed, too, in other ways...

Emsmaman Mon 19-Nov-12 13:27:09

soon to be burns I do my grocery shopping Thurs/Fri then cook most of the stuff over the weekend so I don't have to cook during the week. Once cooked everything lasts about 7 days, if it looks like we won't manage to eat it all I stick the container in the freezer midweek.

When you say unhealthy food what do you mean exactly? I love my oven chips for example but it's £1.50 for a bag that will last DH and I two meals. I got a bag of potatoes the other week that lasted about five and had the variety of having them prepared different ways. The cost of cooking isn't vastly different either, well especially since last night they went in the oven with a chicken so not using any extra electric.

The healthy start vouchers stop when children turn 4.

My dcs have the 5 portions a day, me and dp 1/2 at best fruits expensive and I don't want to have to say no to the children, there health and nutrition is far more important to me than mine.

Spockster Mon 19-Nov-12 13:36:43

Doh I am an idiot sorry blush Now I see that dippy woman is what this whole thread is about... Feel very sorry for the kids though. My BIL has never eaten a vegetable apart from spuds, and his dopey mother never made him. There must be long term health effects; he thinks he has a phobia (muppet).

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 19-Nov-12 13:45:01

Obviously the cost of cooking has to be factored in but not everything needs to be cooked every day. Having just finished a pan of vegetable odds and ends soup that I made Saturday and have been reheating for lunches, that's the kind of thing I mean. If there isn't enough electricity for 25 mins in the oven and you can't bake chips or potatoes... don't put on the deep-fryer, make a pan of soup instead

forevergreek Mon 19-Nov-12 13:55:15

Do you know that many supermarkets deliver for free?
Some are free over x amount, some are free at less busy times of the day

If you don't have Internet access at home, it would be easier for someone to walk to library/ Internet cafe/ friends house, and order food online to be delivered. Then saves time, carrying, bus fares etc etc.. Most people don't realise this

I also did a hypothetical shop online and found with ocado I could today get free delivery on weds at 6-7am. And a shop based on two adults and two children was £32. All fresh/ healthy. Meat twice, fish once, vegetarian the other days. Snacks included apples/ bananas/ oranges and ingredients to make whole meal little carrot and raisen cakes. That included porridge for weekday breakfast, ( with enough apples to make a puree) with eggs at the weekend. Breakfast/ lunch and dinner included

Everyone can afford to eat healthy.

forevergreek Mon 19-Nov-12 14:02:29

Also people need education on using resources carefully to save money.

For example I will use the oven/ hob for a hot or so one day, but make the most of it. So on a Sunday I would make a roast dinner, and lasagne at the same time. As well as bake some potatoes for lunch the next day and make muffins for the children to last the week. All in the oven at the same time. The lasagne will prob go in the freezer for later in the week, and potatoes will take a min in the microwave the next day for lunch.

Also batch cooking, and cooking up the fresh ingredients at the beginning when they are brought so they don't go off/ loose nutrition. Meals for the week can be made straight away and kept in fridge/ freezer until needed, and this saves bus/ taxi/ car use of going to the shop more often

Mominatrix Mon 19-Nov-12 14:15:34

No, healthy food is not more expensive than unhealthy food. However, the cheapest fresh veg, particularly in the winter, are the cabbages and root vegetables. To a generation used to cheap fats and carbs, the...well, earthy flavours of these foods are not appealing. I am not saying that these veg cannot be made to taste nice, just that a bit of skill in the kitchen is needed to get a nicely flavoured dish from these ingredients - something that most cookery shows do not address as these more humble foods are not candidates for food porn.

I think that it is interesting that in the poor immigrant neighborhoods, families still are able to cook healthy meals not based around processed ingredients - perhaps because they come from cultures where the traditional peasant foods are still alive and fast food culture is a relatively new phenomenon. The variety of veg available in the local Muslim shop or at the Oriental grocery store near me is quite vast - and cheaper than Tesco.

FredFredGeorge Mon 19-Nov-12 14:16:44

forevergreek you must have a very large oven!

forevergreek Mon 19-Nov-12 14:22:10

Nope, standard size. Turn a Pyrex dish around and can fit the equivalent of two on each shelf.

mrskeithrichards Mon 19-Nov-12 14:30:43

You've fed a family of for for £32 from waitrose with free delivery? Do share! That might be useful for people.

FredFredGeorge Mon 19-Nov-12 14:35:15

forevergreek Our Oven has 2 shelves, one shelf for the roast potatoes, ~40cm roasting pan takes up entire shelf, one shelf for the meat with other roast veg beside it. On the bottom you can have one other thing, (when the meat comes out to rest that shelf space gets taken by the yorkshires, and the other roast veg would normaly be moved to bottom but could be squeezed in somewhere I guess. Even with the above there's not actually enough roast potatoes for me, DP and 17mo DD.

My lasagne is made in a pyrex dish which is 35x23 I think, it only fits in one way, you cannot turn it around or its too deep for the oven. two don't fit side by side width ways either. Maybe my dishes are larger, but then I'd get less meals out of the lasagne so no saving if I had smaller dishes? You could fit a few potatoes down the side at the same time as the dish, but no room then for muffins.

fuzzpig Mon 19-Nov-12 14:43:40

We use lots of tinned fruit in juice, and frozen veg, that really helps keep the cost down.

mrskeithrichards Mon 19-Nov-12 14:45:11

If my ovens on I will try to rustle up some cakes, brownies or muffins to cook.

forevergreek Mon 19-Nov-12 14:48:17

Of course. I am only on phone but can add on Wednesday if thread hasn't moved too fast! ( and was ocado , so included Waitrose and ocado own).

My personal shop this week at Waitrose was just under £60 but that included more fish, wine and advent calendars!

Fredfredgeorge- I have no idea, but for exame we had beef yesterday. Beef was in the middle of tray, surrounded by potatoes, carros and parsnips. There was plenty of space...
Yorkshires fitted in underneath and a banana loaf next to yorkshires but could have fitted next to beef if needed. How many potoatoes do you all eat??

MamaMary Mon 19-Nov-12 14:53:19

Berries, grapes, melons and kiwi fruits are so expensive that I've stopped buying them; and I don't really like apples or bananas (thankfully DD loves bananas). I try to drink orange juice for vitamin C but I'd love to be able to afford to buy more fresh fruit.

Veg I see more as a necessity - I buy loads.

VirginiaDare Mon 19-Nov-12 14:57:26

go to Aldi and buy whatever they have on special. Every week there are 6 items of fruit and veg for between 39 and 69p for a large bag/container. Anyone can afford that.

MamaMary Mon 19-Nov-12 14:59:36

Don't have an Aldi anywhere enear me sad

garlicbaguette Mon 19-Nov-12 15:32:06

Despite being a nutrition bore and a good cook with no job or children to fit around, the quality of my food reduces each year. The killers are fuel prices and housing benefit cuts - from next Spring, I'll have to fund almost half my rent from money that would have gone to groceries and gas/electricity. This is because I committed the crime of going for a run-down 2 bed instead of a smarter 1 bed place.

This week, I switched from buying mince to frozen burgers. They're supposedly 100% beef and, though I don't like the amount of fat that comes out when they're cooked, their fattiness makes them satisfying. They come to £3.50 a kilo, which is cheaper than 'real'. I've just deleted a long paragraph about all the food compromises I've made and am making (food bore!) but my point is that it's not all about knowing how to cook. Think about the 'store cupboard' ingredients you use to make cheap ingredients nicer - what happens when that cupboard's empty?

Exhortations to grow food are deluded at best: we're not all horticulturalists. I can't afford replacement soil or compost, fertilisers or pesticides; am dependent on the weather (everything rotted this year) and, in winter, the average gardener would be limited to carrots even if you could beat the slugs & bugs. If they even have a garden. And carrots are 70p a bag at Aldi, thank goodness.

Asking a fraught parent, perhaps fitting her childcare commitments round a job, to dive into supermarkets the minute they reduce the sell-bys and to haggle with market traders, is ridiculous. Then you want her to get the stuff home and do all the peeling, chopping and cooking with her children round her - using economical cooking methods, which are mostly slow - and combine it all in different ways for the freezer. She's to do all this between working, sorting out the kids' appointments, looking after their home and personal care, and probably without a car.

The economies available to a relatively comfortable household become less and less relevant, the closer to the bone you get. I know; it is my trajectory.

MamaMary Mon 19-Nov-12 15:47:39

Have to say I tend to agree with Wallison, MrsKeithRichards and Garlicbaguette. I realise I am in a very privileged position to have a car so I can drive to get the bargains. The crap corner shop on the estate with some brown bananas is the reality for many. My DH used to live on such an estate. As well as the crap convenience store it had several takeaways and a bookies. The nearest supermarket was several miles away.

I would also reiterate the fact that junk food and fatty food is addictive and it is very hard if not nigh on impossible to change one's habits to cooking lentils, potatoes and root veg. Even if you could source this kind of healthy food cheaply and conveniently, you wouldn't have a clue what to do with it if you hadn't been brought up that way/ taught.

Remember the Jamie Oliver programme set in Rotherham? There was a single mother of three kids who was desperate to feed her children properly. She lived on a large estate. Her daughter didn't recognise fruit and veg, but she could tell from the polystyrene carton whether she was getting kebabs, curry, or Chinese that night. It was desperately sad. Jamie came in and taught the mum how to cook meatballs with tomato sauce; and pancakes. He came back a few weeks later to find she was still struggling, one of the main reasons being that to get the ingredients involved a bus trip to Tescos. She cited the time and cost factor of this. Another family he tried to help suffered from not having a cooker. This is fairly common in these places.

mrskeithrichards Mon 19-Nov-12 16:10:53

It is not a simple issue. Far from it. It's all very well people trotting on and stating it's easy and that they make a chicken last 5 days and blah blah blah. I don't think any of that's relevant.

Sure, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Then you have two options. You can leave it to be thirsty or you can take the time to find out and think about why it won't drink.

<metaphor overload>

VerySmallSqueak Mon 19-Nov-12 16:19:06

I have swapped buying any sweets/crisps etc for healthy food.
I also cook from scratch where possible and have cut down portion sizes to minimise wastage.I have started my own veggie patch.

In this way I can justify spending extra on 'good' food.My goal is to buy as much organic food as possible.We can't afford it but I see it as a priority.

I would love to see the prices of food in general come down - it's getting scary.

mrskeithrichards Mon 19-Nov-12 16:22:59

And when simply keeping a house warm and light is taking more and more out of a weekly budget it's no wonder people are feeling the squeeze.

Popumpkin Mon 19-Nov-12 16:27:36

This is always a weird one to understand for me as our household always eats far more fresh veg when we are having a budget week confused. Fruit can be expensive but I generally shop at Aldi who have some brilliant offers on fresh produce.

For example, on a budget week I'd use less mince for a cottage pie or spaghetti bolognese and add more veg in order to make a value pack of mince do two meals. Likewise a casserole or stir fry.

In fact, if I'm on a tighter than normal budget, processed convenience foods don't seem to come into it. And as for things like McDonalds - has anyone taken a whole family there recently? It ain't cheap shock.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Mon 19-Nov-12 18:40:23

My shop got remarkably cheaper when I stopped buying biscuits, sweets and crisps.

expatinscotland Mon 19-Nov-12 18:42:11

'Jamie came in and taught the mum how to cook meatballs with tomato sauce; and pancakes. He came back a few weeks later to find she was still struggling, one of the main reasons being that to get the ingredients involved a bus trip to Tescos. She cited the time and cost factor of this. Another family he tried to help suffered from not having a cooker. This is fairly common in these places.'

I remember her. She had a lovely kitchen. She cited time and cost to get to Tesco, but buying a takeaway for 4 people was cheaper? C'mon.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

blue2 Mon 19-Nov-12 19:21:14

I've also noticed that the real bargains in supermarkets (and placed where you can see them) are often the doughnuts, 'yum-yums', biscuits etc.

Its no wonder that people buy the 'wrong' stuff when their budgets are stretched!

I used to be a Homestart volunteer and I taught several of my Mums how to cook a few cheap, nutritious meals - starting with eggy bread for the kids when they get in from school. We did big batches of mince with loads of veg in that they could go and turn into shepherds pies or bolognaise. We'd keep the receipts and work out how much per portion the meals were costing. More often than not, they were amazed at how little it costed. They'd all go into foil boxes and into the little freezer above the fridge.

TBH, Its a combination of lack of education, awareness, money and time. Crap food is also very addictive which is why people don't or can't see their way out of changing their habits.

Spockster Mon 19-Nov-12 22:19:38

Why on Earth but organic if you're on a budget? There really is no evidence it's healthier.

Spockster Mon 19-Nov-12 22:20:14

BUY , not but..

Bogeyface Mon 19-Nov-12 22:21:33

Organic food is just a good way of giving your money away. Dont be so gullible!

Bogeyface Mon 19-Nov-12 22:21:39
samandi Tue 20-Nov-12 08:45:44

There was a single mother of three kids who was desperate to feed her children properly. She lived on a large estate. Her daughter didn't recognise fruit and veg, but she could tell from the polystyrene carton whether she was getting kebabs, curry, or Chinese that night.

How on earth do people afford takeaways every night if they're poor? confused

Re the bus, that's laziness.

MrsHoarder Tue 20-Nov-12 09:04:28

So all those people who have convinced us that it isn't the fault of the disadvantaged if they eat shit food (even if when I was living in a rough area the chippy got far more customers than the Aldi next door) what is your solution?

Unless you want to remove the "food" component of JSA and replace it with canteens in every postcode in the UK, what should we do? Apparently frozen fruit and veg isn't good enough, even though some of us can happily add a fistful of frozen fruit to porridge in the morning and throw peas or spinach at barely £1 a bag in with dinner at night, so what is the answer?

RedToothbrush Tue 20-Nov-12 09:48:16

Define 'healthy food', because to be perfectly honest this idea of good food and bad food is not a particularly helpful one either. All it does it encourage weird diets and doesn't educate you about your nutrition needs in any way.

You NEED things like fat. A lot of people would argue that fat free or sugar free food more unhealthy if its full of chemicals. And occasional processed food is not unhealthy. Its just eating it ALL the time thats the problem. And too much fruit is bad for you as it has too much sugar in it.

The message has to be BALANCED diet and healthy PORTIONS rather than this crap about good and bad food. Our problem in this country is with obesity and not undernutrition as a rule.

As for cost. You can argue about bananas versus kitkats all day long and I'll just laugh. Fresh bananas being pretty much unavailable in the UK until the 1950s because of the logistics of transporting them half way around the world, without spoiling or getting damaged on the way. Fruit and veg grown closer to home in season isn't as convenient and isn't necessarily as tasty and you might get bored of having the same thing every day for a month. And there in lies your real issue; the demand for convenience, variety and taste - which is I'm afraid to say, actually a luxury not a necessity.

Like everyone else who has said it on this thread, its about education and teaching people how to make nutritious food quickly and easily from things that they wouldn't normally think of and are really cheap. Its possible, but it requires effort. And thats the biggest thing lacking.

garlicbaguette Tue 20-Nov-12 11:06:14

I don't believe that woman had takeaways every night. It was a TV show; they edit to make the presenter's points easily. Same with the DC not recognising veg - there are, sadly, many inner-city kids who wouldn't know a freshly-dug carrot by sight, but they know carrot on their plate, in a freezer bag, a tin, or trimmed & packed in a plastic bag. That's no worse than being ignorant of where milk comes from - ie, worrying in an educational sense but no comment on the child's nutrition.

I don't like the demonisation of the poor that invariably seeps into these threads.

MissCellania Tue 20-Nov-12 11:19:11

Bananas were available in the UK long before the 1950's. They weren't available during ww2 but they were for a long time before that. "Yes we have no bananas" is from 1923, and the first recorded sale of bananas in the UK was in 1633. Considering the trade links with India its not surprising they exported lots of bananas over here.

The thing is, unless you happen to enjoy it, cooking is a chore, and like the laundry and the cleaning, it gets dull. Cooking lentil soup is not as rewarding as dishing up a cheap pizza- it takes longer, makes more washing up, and a lot of dc will appreciate the pizza more! So that's why convenient food sells more, it's just easier.

12ylnon Tue 20-Nov-12 11:58:07

We don't have an awful lot of money at the moment, but we still manage to eat a healthy, balanced diet. We just cook everything fresh. I've done an awful lot of research into this and i've yet to find a ready meal i can't make for cheaper using fresh ingredients.

We use dried pulses instead of meat, go to the supermarket on a sunday afternoon- they have cracking deals (we once got a pack of stirfry veg, sauce and noodles for 40p and then added two eggs at home, so good and cheap for feeding 4), buy frozen veg if it's cheaper, and make a cheesy short crust pastry, cut it into shapes and bake into little cheesy biscuits, great for snacks. It really is easy, just teach yourself how to cook!

When i was a single parent, i lived in a little village with the nearest shop the next town away. I got myself one of those wheely shopping trolleys, i would strap DS to my back, and i'd jump on the bus and then walk the 20 mins to the supermarket. It was a pain and it took ages, but getting deals at the supermarket was more economical than shopping at the local corner shop, even with the price of the bus ticket.

12ylnon Tue 20-Nov-12 12:01:50

talking nonesnse you can buy packs of ready mix bread for about 89p. We make up one of those, and half makes a pizza base for 4. We make a small rolls out of the other half and then DS decorates the pizza with all the left over veg in the fridge. He loves it and it's teaching him how to cook. More time consuming, yep, but not by much, i'd say it takes 5 mins to knead the bread and then another 5 to decorate the pizza.

fragola Tue 20-Nov-12 12:20:47

The lady in this article from the same series has £400 per month to spend on nappies and food (including dairy free milk for one child) for two adults and two four year olds, but says that she can't afford to buy decent food and that six out seven meals that they buy are processed.

I don't understand this at all, especially since she says she used to be a keen cook. I can only presume that people are so stressed with financial worries they haven't got the mental energy to think about food.

garlicbaguette Tue 20-Nov-12 12:40:30

She says £400 to do the monthly shop, not "nappies and food". She would have mentioned the nappies and DF because they register as extraordinary expenses. Do you not get your laundry stuff, toilet rolls, shampoo, baby lotion, bin bags, etc in your monthly shop?

The article quotes her saying she can get five ready meals for £4. IMO she's making the right choice in that case. Ready meals aren't brilliant but, while she's right about salt and fat, UK ready meals are not made of additives (that's an American thing). A balanced meal for under £1 is a good achievement.

Yes, you can do better when you manage to get nice ingredients reduced - and you can very often do better if your larder is already well stocked - but do it week in, week out, with depleting stores, and see how clever you feel then.

I think middle-class guilt about food quality does add to the already severe stress of 'breadline' living.

MissCellania Tue 20-Nov-12 12:54:38

Thats rubbish. Any ready meals for that price are going to be tesco value type ones, very small, lacking in nutrients, lacking in anything. For the same price, for less even, you could a far superior dinner for 4 people, using tinned, dry and/or fresh ingredients.
I have a smaller budget, a bigger family, and I do, so I know exactly how.

samandi Tue 20-Nov-12 12:55:38

I don't understand that article. The couple were on £75000 a year and yet they couldn't afford mortgage protection or to put away a few thousand a year as a safety net? Even I have savings and I've never earned more than £20000. Couldn't they have got a lodger in?

And now they're living with his parents and probably not paying very much rent or bills. They say they have to live there but presumably they could also rent privately.

"The fact is, I don't have a choice, not when you can buy five ready meals for £4."

You could buy more fresh veg and pulses for £4 than five ready meals worth.

Don't get me wrong, I have sympathy. I can see why they'd be "tired and fed up" in that situation, living with the parents, having lost their home etc. But it's just not accurate to say they don't have a choice whether to eat more healthy food or not.

MissCellania Tue 20-Nov-12 12:55:48

and I also have two children on lactose free diets, which adds expense, but is not an excuse (especially since you'll find milk products in a lot of ready meals)

FredFredGeorge Tue 20-Nov-12 13:08:56

The obsession with fruit and vegetables and "healthy living" is also pretty confused I think, there are very few people deficient in the UK in most of the major nutrients found in a strawberry (mostly Vitamin C, can be stored long term in the body and available in lots of foods) but there are many more short of Vitamin D - which isn't found in fruit and veg anyway (well alfalfa maybe but how many people are eating that?).

There are some people deficient in micro-nutrients, but the vast majority of the problems of peoples diets in the UK is one of over-consumption of macro-nutrients, simply eating too much. And the "5 a day" is really aimed at tackling that - due to the lower nutrient density of most fruit and veg, rather than a big deficiency in vitamins.

garlicbaguette Tue 20-Nov-12 13:30:52

Fair point about the ready meals ... I was pretty keen to know where she got them! Maybe she just meant a couple of BOGOF pizzas? (Not such a bad meal with some bread & veg.)

YY, Fred. First World malnutrition is often caused by 'healthy' diets like the raw vegan diet and/or continuing 'diets' that were only promoted for short-term use.

To be fair, you can eat any old toot with adequate vitamin/mineral supplements and not be malnourished. Whether you'd actually be healthy is another matter.

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