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Poorest Brits face hike in fruit and veg costs

The poorest households face having to spend almost half of their food and drink budget on fresh fruit and veg in order to meet nutritional guidance under a worst case Brexit scenario.

Research from the Food Foundation found that a triple impact of exchange rates, labour costs and tariffs means Brits face spending an additional £158 on fruit and veg a year for a family of four.

The analysis showed that under a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario, price rises would mean the poorest 10% of the population would need to spend 46% of their entire food and drink budget to meet current government guidance for fruit and veg consumption.

The Food Foundation said the findings raised concerns for low earning Brits who already consume, on average, one portion less of fruit and veg each day compared to more wealthy households.

It called on the government to adopt a number of measures in the forthcoming Agriculture Bill which it claimed would reduce the burden on the NHS and offer public good for public money. The measures include growing more fruit and veg in the UK thus reducing our current reliance on imports.

Fruit and veg consumption is particularly low among young people with only 8% of children aged 11-18 years achieving their recommended five-a-day.

“The government faces a clear choice to boost British harvests of fruit and veg or the NHS will reap the consequences,” said Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation. “Five-a-day needs fresh ideas and an Agriculture Bill which increases supply and demand of British fruit and veg is a huge opportunity.”

The report forms part of the Food Foundation’s Peas Please initiative through which companies have pledged to increase the volume of fruit and veg sold through retail and out of home channels.