BAGS OF TASTE
FROM POOR DIETS TO RICHER LIVES
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.
People often believe that either people in poverty either need learn cooking skills, or are “too lazy to cook”. In reality, research shows that people in poverty have similar cooking skills to the rest of the population. So this does not explain their significantly worse diet. The explanation lies elsewhere.
We have worked with over 5,000 people and intimately understand the barriers our participants face. They are illustrated below, but can be broadly characterised as economic (what it costs), structural (things you can do nothing about), psychological (how you feel about it) and practical (skills, what you can learn).
These are the social determinants of health, the complex, interlinked, wider societal issues that influence our health.
Seeing the barriers in this way helps us to understand why cooking skills are just a small part of the reasons that people don’t cook.
Many of the cost related barriers are affected by the “Poverty Premium” – where people in poverty commonly pay more to access goods and services.
Understanding how many extra barriers affect those in poverty (most of the black and red ones), helps us to understand why some people see home cooking as an unachievable goal. It’s not “laziness”, it’s a sensible allocation of finite resources!
As the chart shows, the many more barriers that people in poverty face to improving their diets may seem insurmountable. The Bags of Taste programme is designed to tackle all of these barriers, and we show impact in all areas. This leads to dramatic change in our participants’ lives, including a typical 85% drop in takeaway consumption; £1,300 per annum savings on food bills and takeaways, and over half of our participants report improved health.
To better understand the chart below, click on the related button to see an explanation of each item and some feedback we’ve received from participants showing how they’ve overcome it.