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4.26m UK households have less than 10% of the budget needed to eat healthily

New data has revealed that up to 4.26 million households across the UK have less than £20 per person per month to spend on food, which… View Article


4.26m UK households have less than 10% of the budget needed to eat healthily

New data has revealed that up to 4.26 million households across the UK have less than £20 per person per month to spend on food, which is just 10% of the budget required to eat a healthy, nutritious diet, according to research commissioned by food charity, The Bread and Butter Thing (TBBT).

Over the past two years food prices have risen by a staggering 23.9%1 putting immense pressure on those struggling financially. The UK is home to approximately 28.4 million households with 15% of those in absolute low income after housing costs2, which has left millions struggling to pay for the bare essentials, such as food.

The research, commissioned by The Bread and Butter Thing to shed light on the issue ahead of Healthy Eating Week (10-14th June), revealed that over a third of those surveyed experienced hunger weekly, while almost half can’t access fruit or vegetables due to soaring costs, and 80% regularly skip meals due to not being able to afford to buy food.

The UK is amongst the biggest consumers of ultra-processed food (UPF), with adults consuming 57% of calories from UPF and children consuming 65% of calories from this food source3. Findings show that almost one in five Britons (19%) are eating more processed foods simply because they are cheaper4.

The Eatwell guide, developed by the Food Standards Agency in 2007 shows a recommended daily diet for a healthy lifestyle. In 2022, Oxford University calculated how much such a diet would cost – £227.52 per person, per month5.  Due to huge levels of inflation since 2022, the actual figure will now be far higher.

With around 14 million people in the UK facing food insecurity, the research found that over half of TBBT’s members had less than £50 per household left to spend on food in the month, which is around £20 per person and just 10% of the required budget to eat a healthy diet.

The House of Lords Select Committee on Food, Diet and Obesity, recently called for evidence on ultra-processed foods (UPF). Its aim is to prevent a landslide into a dangerous health situation, where the majority of people will rely on diets which mainly consist of UPF, leading to widespread societal issues.

Food insecurity is linked with malnutrition and obesity along with a range of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Not only does food insecurity impact physical health, but it can also have devastating effects on mental health including eating disorders, anxiety and depression.

When given easier access to produce, The Bread and Butter Thing’s members improve their diets, and often their cooking skills with survey data revealing 80% of the charity’s members say they are cooking better since joining, while 85% are eating more fruit and veg.

Mark Game, CEO of The Bread and Butter Thing stated: “Most people know they should eat a balanced diet to remain healthy – but the reality is millions of people have less than £20 to live off, so there really is no choice.

“Our members face the decision every month to either eat a poorer diet, with barely any nutritional value, or just skip meals entirely. Simply telling people to eat better without any action to address the underlying causes of a bad diet is a shallow approach, and one which we’ve unfortunately seen repeated over and over.”

The Bread and Butter Thing operates food clubs in 120 locations across the country, providing around 15 million meals a year to over 75,000 families who are food insecure – signposting to practical support like this can be a lifeline to those in need.

TBBT routinely surveys their members, from low income households to get a real time understanding of what families across Britain are facing.

For more information on the support available from The Bread and Butter Thing please visit:



1 Food Foundation

Food Foundation


4 BBC Good Food Nation survey

5 Oxford University


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