The UK is heading for a crisis, with people in poverty unable to feed their families properly, Save the Children warned today. The recession and hike in food prices over the last year means that the UK is heading towards malnutrition for many families. The latest figures from The Grocer magazine show food prices rose by more than 18 per cent in the last year.
According to The Grocer’s Price Index, food prices show no sign of slowing – prices have risen more in the last two months than they did in the same period last year. The collapse of the pound has impacted on the cost of imported food, while last year’s heavy rainfall meant that much of the UK’s wheat was not good enough to make bread, further increasing the cost of food staples. Apparently much of the inflation is also still down to high commodity and oil prices last year.
According to pensioner Rita Young, the rise in food prices means that she has to search for the cheapest of everything. And, she says, “It’s just not doing us any good. Too much salt, too much fat, too much sugar – cheap, cheap, cheap just isn’t good enough.” A typical basket of 33 items has, according to The Grocer, gone up from £48 a year ago to £57.50 this year. Consequently, on Monday Save the Children will launch a crisis grant scheme to help families.
The UK imports around 40% of its food. It seems, therefore, to make sense to me for people to try local markets like Stoke Newington (below), where no extra cost is incurred by a weak pound and food is seasonal and fresh. Kate Green from the Child Poverty Action Group said that many families are buying less fresh fruit and vegetables and more tinned and packet foods, which are often higher in sugar, salt and fat. It always seems crazy to me that the healthiest foods are the most expensive and therefore exclusive, while processed and tinned foods are the cheapest. Surely the government should take a greater role in making sure that all society has access to the basics?
Has the hike in your shopping bill meant you have to compromise on healthy ingredients, or have you found ways around it? Le me know in my online poll.