The British Food Standards Agency have just released their findings from a large survey of low-income households. They conclude:
For many foods, the types and quantities eaten by people on low income appeared similar to those of the general population.
The findings were unexpected as many believed a lack of cooking skills and access to good food prevented poorer households from eating healthy.
- Men and women with a lower level of educational achievement tended to have a ‘less healthy’ diet than men and women with more education. Men and women with less education ate fewer vegetables and more chips, fried and roast potatoes. Less educated women also consumed less fruit and fruit juice.
- 30% of men and 29% of women reported that price/value/money available for food was the most important influence on their choice of food. Thirty-five percent of men and 44% of women wanted to change their diet.
- 91% of women reported they could cook a meal from basic ingredients without help; for men this was 64%.
Some of the differences between low-incomes and the average household
- Higher levels of smoking and alcohol consumption, together with lower levels of activity within this low income group.
- Less likely to eat wholemeal bread, but drank more sugary drinks and consumed more table sugar
Cigarettes? Alcohol? Neither are particularly cheap.
The mean weekly spend on food and drink (excluding alcohol) was just £30 (US$61) per person.