Cost of a healthy food basket in Ireland
Latest food basket report from safefood reveals continuing pressure on families on tight budgets.
May 2023: The latest report¹ by safefood on the cost of a minimum acceptable healthy food basket has revealed families on a tight budget continue to struggle to buy healthy food, with some households spending up to one third (32%) of their take home income each week on food. The research, which is conducted every two years, also found that food costs for families with teenage children was more than double that for households with younger children.
Introducing the research, Dr Aileen McGloin, Director of Nutrition with safefood said: “We’ve been conducting this research since 2014 and we’ve seen for the first time that average food prices are higher than they were in 2014. We’re also seeing a consistent pattern of households trying to balance buying an affordable food basket with other rising household expenses. For a two-parent household who rely on state benefits with two children, one in primary and one in secondary school, their weekly food shop is €150 or 32% of their income. If this same household is in a rural area, the cost increases to €162 every week.”
“For all families with children, food is the largest household cost, and this has only been exacerbated by the rises we’ve seen in inflation in the past 12 months”, continued Dr McGloin. “Food staples² like milk, butter and eggs have increased in price by 24%, 18.9% and 18.3% respectively compared with April 2022. We know from the research that food is often the flexible part of the household budget and gets sacrificed when other bills need to be met.”
“Our research is based on the food needs of families and takes into account the social and cultural aspects of the food we buy. This ensures we reflect how Irish families live their lives and how their weekly food shop allows them take part in activities considered a normal part of everyday life. For example, buying a birthday cake for a child’s birthday or biscuits to offer with tea to a visitor”. Recent figures³from Kantar show that grocery price inflation slowed slightly in April and stands at 16.8%. This could lead to an annual grocery bill rising by more than €1,200.
The contents of the food baskets in the safefood survey were based on menus put together by the households themselves. People selected an acceptable food basket in terms of taste and menu choices, while also meeting the social needs of a household, for example hosting visitors or special occasions like birthdays. The food baskets were reviewed by nutritionists to ensure they met the nutritional guidelines of the Food Pyramid and then price-checked accordingly.
For more information or to request an interview please contact
Cliona Plunkett/ Heidi Morgan
Mob +353 (0)87 297 2046
Tel: +353 (0)86 381 1034
¹ “What is the cost of a healthy food basket in Ireland?” safefood 2022
² Central Statistics Office (CSO) Consumer Price Index April 2023. Consumer Price Index April 2023 - CSO - Central Statistics Office
³ Grocery price inflation hits 16.8% in March - Kantar (rte.ie)
Full link - https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2023/0403/1367939-kantar-supermarket-figures/
The safefood research looked at six household types for the study which were as follows:
- Two parent & two children (pre-school & primary school age)
- Two parent & two children (primary & secondary school age)
- One parent & two children (pre-school & primary school age)
- Single adult, Male, working age, living alone
- Pensioner couple
- Female pensioner living alone
In July 2022, the Department of Social protection published a detailed account of the Government programmes, schemes and supports to address food poverty in Ireland.
This report is the outcome of a high-level mapping exercise undertaken by the Food Poverty Working Group that is intended to illustrate the breadth of programmes, schemes and supports in place across Government to tackle food poverty. The schemes fall into 2 categories: those directly focused on tackling food poverty and those where food poverty is addressed as part of broader supports.
In 2021. expenditure on schemes that directly addressed food poverty was €89,001,076 while expenditure on broader schemes that include a food poverty aspect was €399,232,000.
Some of the initiatives delivered by, or in partnership, with safefood are as follows:
1 - Safefood Community Food Initiative (CFI)
The aim of the Community Food Initiative (CFI) programme is to positively influence the eating habits of families with children in low-income communities. The community initiatives support the development of skills and knowledge around food and healthy eating, healthier shopping and cooking skills.
2 – All-island Food Poverty Network
The Network was established in 2009 to provide a co-ordinated and strategic approach to tackling food poverty on the island of Ireland. It supports the development of consensus on related issues, collaboration and shared learning.
3 - Nutrition Standards for Early Learning and Care Services
These Nutrition Standards were developed by Healthy Ireland in partnership with Safefood, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth for the Early Learning and Care Services.