New research from Red Tractor and YouGov has revealed that families with young children (aged 11 years and under) are most affected by the cost of food and are cutting back on meat as a result.
Parents of young children are having to make the biggest changes when shopping for food, with 27% saying they are buying less meat and 18% buying less fruit and vegetables. 39% of parents have replaced meat with carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta, in an attempt to keep their children full on a tighter budget.
This comes at the same time as research from the British Nutrition Foundation shows budgets for school dinners across the country are seeing real terms cuts, meaning children are increasingly likely to be missing out on vital nutrients from a balanced diet both at school and in the home.
In the past year, there has also been a shift toward grocery shopping at cut-price retailers, with 18% of parents buying groceries from retailers such as Poundland and B&M Bargains.
On top of this, 33% of families with young children are buying what they consider to be lower quality food as they look for cheaper options, compared to just 20% of households without children. This comes despite concerns that less-expensive products may have been produced to a lower quality.
“This research lays bare the choices parents feel they have to make thanks to the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on food prices,” said Jim Moseley, chief executive, Red Tractor. “We are making it clear to consumers that families should never have to make a choice between quality, safety and value when it comes to their child’s nutrition.”
Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of food redistribution charity FareShare said: “This report’s findings sadly tally with the stark findings from a survey we carried out last September with the 9,500 charities and community groups we provide with food and drink. The majority of charities report an increase in families with children accessing their vital support.”