We believe everyone should be able to afford good food, that doesn’t make them sick.

People in poverty have the poorest diets, often characterised by high consumption of highly processed, “fast” and fatty foods, low in vegetables and nutrients.  This leads them to get sicker and die younger than the rest of the population.  This is food poverty, and its effects on health, mental health and finances can keep people trapped in poverty.

The reasons for this poor diet are not as simple as people generally believe.  People often believe that either people in poverty either need to learn to cook, or are “too lazy to cook”. In reality, research shows that people in poverty are no worse, or better, than the rest of the population at cooking.  So this does not explain their significantly worse diet.  The explanation lies elsewhere.

Bags of Taste works with highly vulnerable people in food poverty to address the economic, structural and practical barriers that prevent them from improving their diets.  Outcomes include an 85% drop in takeaway consumption; £1,300 per annum savings on food bills and takeaways, and 54% of participants report improved health.

Barrier: Mental health  around 50% of our participants suffer from poor mental health

  • Got me to forget about my self harm, death and stop thinking too much. Stress goes for a while.
  • I have gained confidence cooking from fresh, and overcome my fear of doing things in a group my mental health feels better on a daily basis and I have learn to shop better. I think all the staff have made my time here easier made me realise no question about cooking is daft question and who would have thought 38 years later it only takes three weeks to cook

Barrier: Confidence  one of the most significant barriers, people in poverty have demonstrably lower
confidence, leading them to believe they cannot, even when they have the necessary skills.

  • [I have learned] healthy eating using less money on food and bills. I have learnt to prepare quality good foods that are rated in 5* hotels
  • Did try cooking at home with ingredients and recipes from course – was “Chuffed” with results – which has given me the confidence to try more – and turn it into a daily habit
  • I am really proud to have supported a young person and she then gave her dad the confidence to attend too. She was polite and listened really well.  It enabled them both to eat that day and a further 4 days with the ingredients.  It gave them (and me) new skills and confidence.  This has taught all 3 of us in so many ways.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
  • [I have learned] The gradual feel of confidence in coming on my own. Having more skills.
  • This course helped me with my confidence and I really enjoyed meeting new people. I suffer anxiety so I’m really proud of myself for sticking to the full four sessions

Barrier: Social Isolation  poverty causes people to isolate themselves as social activities can be expensive; it may seem pointless cooking for one

  • I enjoyed the course. I feel much more confident to meet people and talk to them. I have learnt new cooking skills and I understand how to eat healthy. Thank you
  • I’m getting out socializing learning to cook. I’ve learned that cooking for myself is cheaper than takeaway. I love the student area on facebook as it has the video and pdf of instructions to help me at home. There’s lots of resources. I’ve enjoyed the class its helped me with my confidence. I’ve been talking to people and they’ve been talking back. It’s helped me to get out of the house.
  • I’ve improved my cooking. I am happy I’ve met new, kind people. I know where to buy cheaper food and I can invite my friends for a dinner now! Thank you 🙂