The YouGov survey found 28% of lower-income families spent less on food this Christmas compared to previous years 

Lower-income families decreased their spending on food over the Christmas period due to the cost of living crisis, new research from Veg Power has found.

The YouGov survey commissioned by the not-for-profit alliance found 28% of families with a combined household income of £30,000 or less strongly agreed that they spent less on food this Christmas compared to previous years.

Vegetable consumption habits were also impacted in these families, with 28% agreeing energy costs led to less veg consumption, 20% agreeing veg purchasing was reduced to save money, and 20% buying food treats for the family instead of vegetables due to limited budgets.

These findings were supported by analysis of retail sales from IRI Worldwide that revealed consumer shopping baskets had become less healthy over time.

Compared to 2018, veg’s volume share was 7.6% lower, while sweets and snacks generated 5.7% higher volume and alcohol’s share was up by 10%.

Values sales were even more significantly affected, with spend nearly 18% lower last Christmas compared to 2018.

Veg Power has predicted this happens because lower-income families think of food shopping in terms of “risk”.

“Will the food item be eaten? Will it cause friction and stress? When people have strain on budgets, then any food wasted is unacceptable,” said Dan Parker, CEO at Veg Power.

“The key to keeping healthy food in lower-income baskets is not simply lower prices, it is giving parents greater confidence that the food will be eaten,” he added.

Other findings from the YouGov survey included that 29% strongly agreed they shopped more at discounters, 28% strongly agreed they shopped around more and 23% strongly agreed their food choices were dictated by offers, promotions and discounts.

“We are supporting families with initiatives like Simply Veg which offers simple, easy ideas from an impressive panel of experts to help reduce the impact on families’ budgets, encourage veg acceptance by children and decrease the amount of food wasted,” Parker said.