Has the Recession Changed What You Eat?
Rising food prices have forced many of us to think again about our shopping and eating habits. So what is everyone eating?
Small wonder then that many people have moved away from fancy foods and organic produce, to settle for a more basic diet whilst the credit crunch and recession are upon us.
The good news is that we all seem a little less gung-ho about throwing food away. Not before time, since the UK throws away 6.7million tons of food every year, most of which is still safe to eat. This year it is estimated the UK will bin food worth up to £10billion - equivalent to £420 for every household.
But at last, people do seem to be willing to throw away less. According to recent research, 62% of Brits are now more worried about throwing food away and around 45% have turned to cooking at home from scratch, rather than eating out or buying ready meals. That may be bad news for restaurants and the makers of ready meals, but it has to be good for our collective health – provided those home cooked meals are healthy and nutritious.
At the same time, rising sales of Tupperware and freezer bags suggests that more people are saving leftovers for another day – cutting out waste and saving money in the bargain.
But is credit crunch cuisine healthy? Comfort and 'inferior' foods are enjoying rising sales as shoppers search out bargains – sales of baked beans (despite the price rise) have soared by 22.6%, whilst standard white bread sales rose by a similar amount. Beans on toast it is then – nothing wrong with that.
Not surprisingly, many shoppers are also turning to products past their 'best before' dates - sold off on the cheap by most supermarkets. On the face of it that sounds a bit like scraping the bottom of the barrel, but it’s worth remembering that best before dates are guidelines only (confusion over their meaning sees plenty of perfectly good food thrown in the bin every year).
The retailer Approved Food, which specialise in past its best food, has seen sales soar over the last few months – though I’m not sure offers like 12 Pot Noodles for a pound would tempt me...
Pot Noodle aside (a snack maybe, but not a staple surely?), I see no problem at all with buying and eating out of date food - as long as things like chicken, meat and eggs are avoided and a little common sense is exercised - particularly if out of date ingredients are used for good old fashioned home cooking.
It further cuts down on food waste, saves money and could make us all healthier in the long run and, if you need a little culinary inspiration, those nice people at ITV are only too happy to oblige.
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Nashville, Tennessee, United States