Commission us: help change diets and change lives

People in poverty have the worst diets and the worst health outcomes; they die younger and get sicker than the rest of the population. Poor diet is the single largest cause of health inequalities and accounts for 40% of the NHS’s budget.  Our courses are designed to help improve the diets of those most in need, by tackling the underlying causes.  We focus on building long term resilience and independence, as people on low incomes are subject to sudden shocks, both financial and physical.

People in poverty

  • Have similar cooking skills as the rest of the population yet cook less at home and have significantly worse diets comprised of 78% ultra processed foods and cheap takeaways
  • Live precarious and financially insecure lives, at risk of shocks
  • Have 2-3x normal rates of poor mental health
  • 50% of households in poverty contain someone with a disability – who have 4x higher rates of poor mental health

The people we work with

  • On benefits or on very low incomes
  • 80% of the people that we work with rate their cooking skills as average to good; yet they are eating unhealthy food and their typical takeaway consumption costs them £1,260 a year.
  • 55% have a long term medical condition or a disability
  • 70% suffer from poor mental health

Our results

  • 86% of participants cooked more frequently after the course
  • 70% of people identified ways of reducing food costs
  • 80% of all students completed the course
  • Thousands of people go on to join one of our online continuing support groups, committing to maintaining the dietary changes we’ve helped them make.

The Challenges People Face

People we work with have precarious, often chaotic lives with a great deal of financial insecurity.  This leads to them to make food choices that are unhealthy and expensive.  We have a deep insight into the barriers that our cohorts are facing and have developed the programme to alleviate these issues and embed behaviour change.

These barriers are collectively known as the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). Read more about the people we work with and how the Social Determinants of Health affect them here.

In particular, people in poverty suffer from demonstrably poorer mental health, with up to 4x higher risk of depression and other common mental health disorders.  70% of our participants suffer from poor mental health and  one of the key impacts of the course is enabling people to break free from the vicious cycle of poor diet – poor mental health.  Increasing evidence attests to diet’s impact on mental health and our participants are already starting from a position of poorer diet and poorer mental health.  All of the primary methods of improving your mental health are much harder to achieve when you are in poverty, and this means that not only do you find yourself in the trap, but you’re also going to find it harder to get out of it.

Our Results

Because Bags of Taste is an authority on dietary health inequalities and dietary behaviour change, a wide range of public health and charity organisations commission us to provide our Mentored Home Cooking Programme.

Our evidence-based course draws upon proven methods that create and sustain dietary change, producing a long-term behavioural intervention resulting in better physical, mental and financial health.

Our long term evaluations, undertaken by independent, expert nutritionists, show sustained long term change and significant reduction in takeaway spend, particularly by those that consumed the most.

Takeaway consumption

Our tailored solutions

We work with our commissioners to tailor solutions to their cohorts’ specific needs, including dietary requirements (e.g. diabetics), and one-to-one mentoring for those that require it. We have run many specialist courses for everything from drug and alcohol rehabilitation, long term conditions, ex offenders, care leavers and people with learning disabilities.

What we deliver

  • Complete delivery of a three-stage intervention that inspires and supports cohorts to change the way they cook, shop and eat, and to maintain these changes throughout their lives;
  • An intervention expressly designed for people in poverty, which includes food, digital and fuel poverty
  • A programme that inspires life changes that open doors to others: changing diets=changing lives
  • We adapt our programme to meet special requirements, helping commissioners meet specific objectives.
  • Ongoing support to participants that sustains commitment to the new habits we’ve helped them build;
  • An online course accessible with low-tech equipment (just a phone) to ensure the most vulnerable participants (and their carers) can participate with no need even to leave the house;
Refer to Bags of Taste:Ken's story
  • Highly-qualified and experienced mentors – we are endorsed by the Association for Nutritionists (AfN), the main nutritionist certifying body in the UK, for mentoring
  • Specialist support for people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
  • Powerful and proven long-term outcomes: improved physical and mental health and annual financial savings for students of more than ten times the cost of providing the course,

To discuss our shared objective of helping vulnerable people – and how our work can help you with yours..