A study from The Institute for Fiscal Studies says food purchases in UK Households have changed over the last seven years, showing an increase in processed foods as a supplement for vegetables and fruit.
Author of the report, Kate Smith, said a majority of households within the United Kingdom have decreased their food spending by an average of 8.5%, reducing the amount of calories bought. Households which have purchased fewer calories were switching to affordable calories in order to spend 5.2% more healthily per calorie. Food spending was calculated by accumulating the money spent on consumer goods and dividing it with the price of a basket of food, beverages and consumer services purchased by households. They evaluated the nutritional quality of the food according to the NHS healthy eating index and nutrient profiling model.
The report suggests although people are eating more healthily per calorie, the type of food they are eating may be of a questionable quality compared with their previous diet. Households with young children, single-parent households and pensioners are switching from fresh fruit and vegetables to purchase more processed foods.
Chemist Direct Pharmacist, Omar El-Gohary, offers his advice to ensuring a good nutritional diet in today’s current climate: “With the continued shift in personal incomes households have responded to higher food prices by switching to processed foods as an affordable option. By moving away from eating fresh fruit and vegetables however, the nutritional quality of foods purchased has fallen.
“It may seem like processed foods are your only affordable option at the moment, but it is still possible to eat a healthy diet on a budget by planning ahead and choosing carefully at your local supermarket. Consider making your own meals as opposed to the ready-made variety, it is especially cost efficient when cooking for a household. Purchasing items with a shelf line that is almost due is a good place to start when looking for cost efficient yet healthier options. “A handy tip to remember is taking advantage of two-for-one offers on items that store well, such as wholegrain pasta, rice, and cereals, or tins of pulses or vegetables like tomatoes. Choosing fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits home-grown in the UK, instead of looking at imported goods is also a wise why to save while staying healthy.”
Cooking at home may be a simple method to help save money and may be a fun, enjoyable experience. Experiment with new recipes and ideas whilst involving friends and family. Instead of watching Come Dine With Me set up a weekly version or how about replicating TV show Ready Steady Cook with what vegetables and fruit one has in the house for a challenge.
The most expensive part of a meal may be the source of protein in the form of meat, although one may find equally beneficial sources of protein in eggs, soya beans, nuts and chick peas. Buying in bulk with food such as rice, oats and dried fruit is a win-win situation, so stock up with a larger packet next time at the supermarket.
Understanding the in-season and local produces may help save the pennies. The in-season fruits and veggies are much more enriched with flavour, if one may find a farmers market they may cost pennies per pound whilst smaller grocers are likely to have local produce.
What is other top-tip to saving money ideas are there when food shopping ?