Is the cost of living crisis meaning individuals are unable to afford much needed nutrition?

As prices rise in the UK people are understandably struggling. It comes as no surprise that after Brexit and Covid we are seeing prices in our supermarkets rise but does this mean that food and basic nutrition for the general population is becoming unaffordable?

We expect, in these times, that people are unable to afford eating out at restaurants and cafes and it is evident that the number of people looking for more price conscious dining options is increasing. This has meant an increase in people favouring affordable, yet memorable, dining experiences as well as prioritising special events, rather than more frequent outings. Whilst this is not beneficial to the restaurant and hospitality industry the greater risk lies with the fact supermarket produce is also becoming unaffordable for many.

We are seeing more and more individuals not able to afford fruit and vegetables in their weekly shopping, as well as products like milk and bread having a 22p increase in price per two litres and loaf. Despite the obvious issues with this, lack of nutrition can lead to greater health issues in the future, making individuals susceptible to illness and possibly leaning on our healthcare system more frequently. Is it the supermarket’s responsibility to ensure produce is kept at an affordable price for consumers despite the effect this may have on profit margins?

Just this week it was reported that MP’s were questioning whether the role of supermarkets was to aid people with their cost of living pressures. This is a result of it being recorded that supermarket chains are still maintaining huge profit margins whilst food shopping for many families becomes more of a struggle.

Whilst many supermarkets are attempting to create the appearance of cheaper items this can be at the cost of a reduction in the size of products. This may make the weekly shopping appear more affordable but unfortunately this means less food on the table for consumers.

Latest figures have shown that one in twenty adults in the UK was unable to buy additional food in the last two weeks, once their supplies had run low and with the latest data showing that food inflation is at 18.3%, this is an understandable issue facing many people in the UK. It is a frightening fact that one in seven people in the UK will go hungry this year and it is understandable that many families are worried that they will be unable to stay fed as prices rise.

Should this responsibility fall on supermarkets or the government to ensure fresh produce and food is available to people as prices continue to rise within our shops? With 67% of people wanting a cap placed on shopping essentials it is certain that this is an issue we will continue to face in the coming months.

Written by Lexie Cook, EP Business in Hospitality