New research has found that Irish households on low incomes need to spend up to a third of their take-home income on a healthy food basket.
Safefood found that some families on low income need to spend up to 33 per cent of their take home income to afford a basic food basket that is acceptable and meets nutritional needs. In general, households on a low-income tend to eat less well, have poorer health outcomes with higher levels of excess weight and its complications.
The report also found that the composition and location of households had an impact on costs; those households with children, in particular with teenagers, and those living in rural areas, need to spend more.
Ray Dolan, CEO at Safefood, commented: “This study confirms how food poverty is an everyday reality for one in 10 households in Ireland. Managing on a tight budget means that families with children, single adults living alone, and pensioners have to make stark choices in how they spend their money. Food spending is the flexible element of the household budget and people often fill up on cheap food that’s nutritionally poor when prioritising other bills that need to be paid.”
Research lead, Dr Bernadette MacMahon, of the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice, continued: “This is our third report into the cost of a basic but healthy food basket in the Republic of Ireland. Because the contents of the food baskets in our study were put together by people themselves as a minimum to meet their nutritional, social and psychological needs, this gives us an evidence-based measure that is grounded in the lived experience of Irish households.”