Lancashire woman warns of high price of coeliac diet in cost of living crisis

Credit: Coeliac UK

A woman in Lancashire has revealed how the cost of living crisis is disproportionately affecting those with coeliac disease.

New research shows a weekly gluten free food shop can be as much as 20% more expensive than a standard weekly food shop.

Charlotte Burke, 25, who works at The University of Central Lancashire, was diagnosed with the condition in June 2021.

Coeliac Disease is a serious autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system reacts to gluten and attacks the gut.

The report reveals a weekly gluten free food shop can be as much as 20% more expensive than a standard weekly food shop. Credit: Coeliac UK

Charlotte said: "I do a food shop every three weeks which easily costs £100 for two of us, and now with the cost of gluten free food being so high as well, it’s made it even more difficult.

"I’m not extravagant and tend to batch cook our meals to avoid having to cook every day and look out for deals and stock up when I can.

"A lot of the time I have to visit multiple shops to find the things that we need, which makes the food shop even more expensive.

"I only buy the necessities and can only afford to buy treats if they are on offer.”

Coeliac disease affects one in 100 people and the only treatment is to follow a strict gluten free diet for life.

The cheapest gluten free loaf of bread is costing 7.2 times more than the cheapest gluten containing loaf, says a new report. Credit: Coeliac UK

The report also reveals that a gluten free loaf of bread is on average 4.3 times more expensive than a standard gluten-containing loaf.

Based on typical annual bread consumption, the annual cost for white and brown/seeded bread for someone on a gluten-free diet compared with someone on a gluten-containing diet is £171 versus £41.10.

Consumers will also pay on average double for gluten free staple substitutes, such as crackers (2.5 times more), bread rolls (2.3 times more), plain flour (2.1 times more), pasta (1.9 times more) and cereal bars (1.8 times more).

For many it can take up to 13 years to get diagnosed. Charlotte says she is constantly having to think about her meals which can be tiring, especially as she cannot heat food in a shared microwave for fear of cross contamination.

Dr Jeremy Woodward, a Consultant Gastroenterologist, said: “At a time when the cost of living is rising and people are necessarily having to identify any possible savings, the added expense of having a diagnosis of coeliac disease may become unsupportable, especially for the most disadvantaged in our society.”

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