Food industry chiefs have claimed that new government consumer spending figures on the nation’s eating habits rubbish calls by consumer groups to move towards a nanny state.
A report from the Office for National Statistics out this week revealed that households are spending £44.70 a week on food and non-alcoholic drink, with more than a third going on fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish.
The average household spends £2.60 on fresh fruit, £3.20 on fresh vegetables, £1.90 on fish and fish products, and £10.20 on meat, including £2.50 on processed products.
Martin Paterson, deputy director general of the Food and Drink Federation, said the figures proved that consumers could make sensible choices without the need for intervention. “These figures demolish the silly suggestions of some pressure groups that consumers do not have access to all kinds of good food, raw and processed.”
More than 70% of our food and non-alcoholic drink shopping bills comes from purchases made in the large supermarket chains, according to the survey. It also shows that 6% of clothing and footwear spend goes to supermarkets, with an average weekly figure of £1.50.
Households spend £2 on chocolate and confectionery each week, while £2.20 is spent on milk and £11.30 on tobacco and take-home alcohol.
Looking at regional trends, households in Northern Ireland spent £11.60 on meat, 14% higher than the national average, while those in Yorkshire and Humber spent £9.20, almost 10% down on the average. Households in London spent the most on fresh fruit (£3) and fresh vegetables (£3.90), 15% and 22% up on the national average.
Rachel Barnes