One in eight households skipping meals amid cost of food crisis

3% of respondents have turned to food banks. Credit: PA

Consumer brand Which? has revealed that one in eight households are skipping meals as the food affordability crisis continues.

New research from the Food Foundation charity this week shows the deep impact the cost of living crisis is having on our national diet as food is 5% more expensive than it was a year ago.

Which?’s February consumer insight tracker - weighted to be nationally representative with approximately 2,000 respondents - found that these costs remain a huge concern as eight in 10 (79%) said they were worried about food prices.

Other data shows that 8% have prioritised meals for other family members and 3% have turned to food banks.

Certain groups of consumers were more likely to have skipped meals - one in five renters and a quarter of those who are unemployed missing meals.

The majority of households (53%) also reported buying cheaper products and almost half (46%) said they purchased more supermarket own-brand budget range items to cut grocery costs.

Inflation also remains a problem for the price of fruit, vegetables, and dairy in the UK.

The average price of pasta and couscous was up 10.8% in the year to January compared with a rise of 6.6% in the year to December, while fruit and vegetable juices were up 12.2% compared with 10.4%, according to Consumer Prices Index (CPI) data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Two food staples have also seen inflation quicken: eggs, up 7.2% in January compared with a rise of 6.8% in December, and yoghurt, up 9.9% compared with 8.6%.

The figures come as an estimated 1.9 million households missed or defaulted on at least one mortgage, rent, loan, credit card or bill in the month to February 7.

This is significantly lower than the month to January 12 - which saw 2.4 million households miss payments - but reflects the high missed payment rates seen throughout the cost of living crisis.

The majority of households reported buying cheaper products to combat soaring food costs. Credit: Pexels

The Priority Places for Food Index developed jointly by Which? and the Consumer Data Research Centre at the University of Leeds, has also been updated to reveal the local areas in the UK where households are most likely to be in need of extra support to put food on the table.

In England, the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands had the highest number of priority place areas.

In Wales, Which? found the highest concentration of areas at high risk during the food crisis in the Valleys, where people are more likely to be suffering from fuel poverty and on a low income.

In Scotland, the places in highest need of support are in the Central Belt, but there is also a notable concentration in and around Dundee.

In Northern Ireland, there is a noticeably greater concentration in parts of south west Belfast and in and around Derry/Londonderry.

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