Low-income households in NI should spend 46 p.c of weekly earnings to afford a wholesome basket of groceries

New research has shown that low-income families in Northern Ireland now have to spend almost half of their weekly income to afford a healthy basket of groceries.

The study, conducted by Safefood and the Food Standards Agency, found that the cost of a healthy, balanced diet for a welfare family of four, with two adults and two children in elementary and secondary school, is £ 162 a week, the equivalent of 46 Percent of their weekly household income.

In addition, a healthy food basket for a minimum wage single parent with two children in preschool and elementary school costs £ 105 a week – 25 percent of household income.

In addition, a retiree living alone must spend £ 61 a week on a healthy and balanced diet, which is one third of his weekly income.

The study also found that food costs were highest in a low-income household with an older child after elementary school, while a household that depended on benefits spent 14 percent more of their income on food than households in which an adult lived employment.

Joana Da Silva, Chief Specialist in Nutrition at Safefood said, “Managing a tight budget means families with children, single parents and retirees have to make strong decisions about how to spend their money.

“Grocery spending is the flexible element of the household budget, and people often stock up on cheap, low-nutrient groceries when prioritizing other bills that need to be paid,” she said.

Fionnuala Close, director of the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland Dietary Health Policy, said: “While many families across Northern Ireland can enjoy healthy eating, other low-income households have difficulty on budget and tend to do less well eat. which can lead to health inequalities.

“The 2020 Food Basket research builds on an evidence base that will help shape Northern Ireland policies to meet the food needs of the most vulnerable people in our society,” she said.

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