160,000 Dorset households are not spending enough on food

160,000 Dorset households are not spending enough on food

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:38am 1st October 2019. (Updated at 7:43am 1st October 2019)

Public Health Dorset say 46% of us in Dorset's aren't spending enough money on food to maintain a healthy diet.

The government's recommendations for eating healthy, is £42 per week per adult - meaning a family of four would expect to spend over £100 a week on a nutritious food shop.

An event organised Public Health Dorset and, Dorset Council called 'Dorset's Hidden Hunger' has been raising awareness of  'food insecurity.'

Food insecurity includes people who are worried about being able to afford enough food or who have to compromise on the quality or quantity of what they eat for financial reasons.

Hidden Hunger conference
Photo from left to right, Alistair Doxat-Purser - Chief Executive, Faithworks Wessex, Cllr Vikki Slade - Leader, BCP Council, Lucy Johns - Children’s Services Strategic Commissioner, Dorset Council, Cllr Andrew Parry - Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Help, Dorset Council, Sam Crowe – Director, Public Health Dorset

Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health Dorset, said:

"Food insecurity is a real challenge facing Dorset.

"In the 21st century, it's shocking that there is still such a high number of families who are struggling to afford to eat a healthy diet. 

"The Dorset Hidden Hunger event was all about bringing together people from across the health care system to start thinking about solutions and how we can build upon some of the excellent support that's already available across our communities."

supermarket food on shelf

Local people also attended the conference to describe what food insecurity is like and how it impacts on their lives.

One Dorset resident, who had separated from her husband five years ago, said: 

"I've noticed in that time, it's become increasingly difficult with rising energy bills, the cost of living and food in particular. 

"My income hasn't gone up in line with everything else. I would say I'm in a good job, which is frustrating because when you've got yourself to that place, you expect things to be a little easier." 

Portland Food bank
Volunteers at Portland Food Bank

Existing support for those in need includes food banks, community fridges, and budgeting and cooking classes.

Alistair Doxat-Purser, chief executive of Faithworks Wessex said: 

"This event was, first of all, about celebrating the amazing people in our communities who got an idea like community fridges and school uniform re-use and made it happen."

fruit and veg

Councillor Andrew Parry, Portfolio Holder for Children, Education, and Early Help at Dorset Council said:

"This is not just an issue facing deprived areas, hidden hunger is also a big issue in areas of Dorset which we traditionally associate with prosperity. 

"Food insecurity is often an end product of really difficult periods in people's lives, so we need to work together as one system to address the issue as a whole."