Today – Shrinking Bank Balances Cause Poorer Eating Habits
With many households struggling to pay for everything, the rise in the cost of food has come at a very bad time.
However, rather than creating a nation of dieters, the lack of money is forcing many people to abandon a healthy meal plan.
A recent survey by PruHealth, revealed that the recession has led an increasing number of Brits to change their eating habits and not for the better.
With food prices rising more rapidly than inflation, around one in five people admitted that they are existing on either special offers or the food that was in the discount cabinet at the end of the day. This has led to many people struggling to reach their recommended five-a-day intake for fruit and veg.
Shrinking Bank Balances Cause Poorer Eating Habits
Around six in ten people said they were currently unable to manage to eat five portions of fruit and veg per day, up from just 47% of those interviewed in 2008. Three out of four people also said they had been forced to drastically change their eating habits in the last four years, with nearly nine out of ten blaming the economy and the recession.
Nearly one in four people said they relied on multivitamins to boost the quality of their diet and to provide supplements they were not getting from their meals.
Parents suffer the most…
Parents were amongst the worst affected of those surveyed. Almost one in ten said they regularly missed meals in order to have enough money to provide their children with a healthy diet. More than one in two also said that since the credit crunch began in 2008, their wellbeing had suffered because they had less money to spend on food.
The PruHealth study found that, overall, 10.6 million adults were not managing to eat the type of balanced diet they would like, with 52% claiming their health has suffered as a result. Two out of three of those asked said that healthier foods were more expensive, forcing them to buy cheaper products, which they knew were a bad choice.
Supermarkets Cause Poorer Eating Habits
The findings from PruHealth are backed up by statistics showing the price hikes on the shelves of supermarkets. In March, the cost of buying one of the staples of a meal, meat, rose by 6.1%, way above the rate of inflation. And experts suggest prices could climb even higher, as world supplies are being hit by droughts, making meat production more expensive.
But vegetarians aren’t safe from the price hikes – other table essentials, such as eggs and potatoes, are also climbing steeply.
Changes in the regulation of egg production, banning the cruel battery cages, has meant farmers have been forced to put their hens into larger cages, or give them free range. This has put cost production up, which, combined with a rise in the cost of animal feed, has resulted in 20p more on a dozen eggs in the supermarket.
Even the humble potato is set to make more of a dent in pockets as the wet weather is having a catastrophic effect on crops. Although potatoes kept in storage since last year are still keeping shops well supplied, there are fears that this year’s crop will be delayed, leading to shortages and price hikes.
Food, along with accommodation, council tax, heating and utilities, are the essentials of day to day living costs and these expenses should be prioritised above all other debts. Some money saving and handy tips you’ll be surprised at how much you can save.
If the rising cost of food and other expenditure is stretching your finances to breaking point, it may be worthwhile seeking professional help from an organisation.
It is a good idea to go through your bank statement so you know exactly what you spend your money on and whether there are any savings which can be made. You could use this handy income and expenditure form to get started.
You might also like my post on The best ways to save money on food