The hidden cost of UK food
This report finds that the food we eat costs us about twice as much as it appears in our shopping bills. For every £1 UK consumers spend on food, additional costs of around £1 are incurred. These costs are not paid by the food businesses, nor are they included within the retail price of food. Instead they are passed on to society in a range of hidden ways. In total, production-related costs account for an extra 50p for every £1 spent on food, while the costs of diet-related disease account for an
extra 37p. One surprising conclusion is that farm support payments account for only 2.5p in every hidden £1 spent on food.
Breakdown of every hidden £1 spent on food:
• Natural capital degradation 25.7p
• Biodiversity loss 10.6p
• Production-related ill-health 13.4p
• Diet-related disease 37.3p
• Imported food 7.8p
• Farm support payments 2.5p
A high proportion of these extra costs are paid by UK consumers through general and local taxation, water charges and bottled
water purchases, private healthcare insurance, and lost income. Others are paid over time to mitigate longer-term impacts such as global
warming, ozone depletion, soil degradation and biodiversity loss. We have been led to believe that we are spending less on food than ever before. Food prices as a proportion of income have fallen significantly. However, in reality, for every £1 we spend on food, we pay another £1 in hidden ways.
||Regulation and research
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