The cost of a healthy food basket for a pensioner living on their own is £59 per week, while for a family of four – two adults and two children - is £119 per week.
These are the main findings from Northern Ireland’s survey on the Cost of a Healthy Food Basket. The consumer-led research is the first time a cost has been put on a healthy food basket for two of the biggest household types in Northern Ireland
It asked consumers to select a realistic food basket from a taste and menu point of view, while also meeting the social needs of a household, such as hosting visitors or special occasions.
The food baskets were then reviewed by nutritionists from Ulster University to ensure they met nutritional guidelines of the UK Eatwell plate and were then price-checked accordingly.
Sharon Gilmore, Head of Standards and Dietary Health at the Food Standards Agency in NI, said: 'Those people experiencing food poverty and having difficulty eating an adequate diet will continue to be the focus of our work.
'For the first time, we have sound evidence on the real cost of an essential food basket and how food issues relate to poverty and economic hardship. We need to take this evidence and develop an action plan to tackle food poverty in Northern Ireland.'
Research reportsCost of a healthy food basket for households on the island of Ireland (Northern Ireland Research)
The Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice (VPSJ) developed Minimum Essential Standard of Living (MESL) and Minimum Income Standards (MIS) for a range of household types. Extending this initiative to Northern Ireland will provide data on food costs and socially acceptable food baskets which meet healthy eating guidelines and nutritional needs to provide valuable data relevant to food poverty. Understanding food in the context of poverty, economic insecurity and social exclusion
To improve FSA in NI’s understanding of health inequalities, the overall aim of the research was to provide an updated and critical body of evidence on what constitutes 'food poverty'.