What is the cost of a healthy food basket in Ireland?
The cost of a minimum essential food basket and the cost of the minimum essential standard of living (MESL) for these household types builds on previous research which presented costs for these household types every second year since 2014.
The MESL Research Centre works with members of the public to reach agreement on the minimum needed to live within the social and economic norms of everyday life in Ireland. The research identifies the cost of what is needed to live with dignity at a minimum acceptable standard that people agree nobody should be expected to live below. Through working with multiple focus groups, in-depth discussions with members of the public produce a negotiated consensus on what people regard as essential for a socially acceptable minimum standard of living.
The research places an emphasis on ‘needs, not wants’, and produces comprehensive, transparent, itemised lists (of over 2,000 items, goods and services) detailing what is required to meet minimum needs and enable an acceptable minimum standard of living. From this, budgets specifying the actual average weekly cost of a minimum acceptable standard (the Minimum Essential Standard of Living) are compiled, producing MESL budgets for 90% of households across urban and rural Ireland.
This understanding of an acceptable minimum standard of living, embodies the concepts which underpin the human right to an dequate standard of living, and reflect the Irish Government definition of poverty which emphasises the ability to have a “standard of living which is regarded as acceptable by Irish society generally” and to participate in normal activities.
The MESL uniquely shines a light on the extent to which individuals and households can afford a standard of living which enables participation in the social and economic norms of Irish society. An income below the MESL threshold means individuals & households must choose which essentials to go without, in order to make ends meet. Further information on the research, and the detailed MESL expenditure and income needs can be found on budgeting.ie.
- families on a tight budget continue to struggle to buy healthy food.
- some households spending up to one third (32%) of their take home income each week on food.
- food costs for families with teenage children was more than double that for households with younger children.