UK nutrition trends… and how to reverse them

Fruits, vegetables and high nutrient foods are dropping out of the food budgets of UK families, with only the highest income families not reducing their spending on healthy foods. This is one of the key findings of the UK governments annual Family Food survey, the most detailed survey of food and drink spending habits in the country.

These findings correlate with the findings of a recent study for The Guardian indicating consumption of highly processed, high fat food has increased dramatically in families earning less than £25,000.

Poor nutrition has been linked with many forms of cancer and chronic disease, depression and obesity, and these are all afflictions that are increasingly prevalent in the UK. However, it will be continually harder for families to invest in good nutrition as food prices are set to continue to rise.

Turbulent weather across the world, and the rising costs of pesticides and fertilisers are contributing to the rising cost of food, with the British Retail Consortium showing that food inflation has reached 4.6%.

However it is not all doom and gloom. Good nutrition does not have to be expensive, in fact it can be free. Growing your own fruit and vegetables is becoming increasingly popular across the UK. Although taking the first steps can be daunting there is a lot of support available. Dean Forest Food Hub is working to compile a list of groups and activities that support people wanting to learn to grow food in the Forest of Dean. If you know of an organisation and would like to know about groups near you please Contact Us.

Community Supported Agriculture is a great way to learn about growing veg, meet like minded people and share ideas, stories, enthusiasm and energy while producing good quality food. In the Forest of Dean Blakney Hill Growers meet every week in the garden and share in the harvest. They also have bees, goats (for milk), chickens and ducks.

Quality, seasonal food can actually be the cheapest way to eat, if you get involved in the cooking process. This summer Dean Forest Food Hub plan to run community preserving days, where we can come together and preserve the summer gluts into jams, chutneys, pickles and preserves to give us seasonal food all year around. Keep an eye on our upcoming events for more information.

We are also looking for members that can exchange their time for a discount in store, and members of the Bulk Buyers group. Doing both of these things is a great way to cut the price and increase the quality of your weekly shop. Check out our membership page, we’d love to have you on board.