What is the cost of a healthy food basket in Northern Ireland in 2018?

Date: September, 2019

ISBN: 978-1- 905767-91-5

Downloads

Introduction

pdf cover showing a food basketFood poverty is defined as “the inability to have an adequate and nutritious diet due to issues of affordability and access to food, with related impacts on health, culture and social participation being felt”. Food poverty therefore not only affects what people eat, it also impacts on people's lifestyles, social interactions and health. It is a core experience of poverty. Data published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency show that 18% of the population were in relative poverty in 2016/17 and 15% in absolute poverty (before housing costs).

The Minimum Essential Standard of Living (MESL) research applies the “Consensual Budget Standards methodology”. This method involves working with members of the public to reach agreement on the minimum needed to live and partake in the social and economic norms of everyday life. Through engaging with multiple deliberative focus groups, iterative in-depth discussions with members of the public produce a negotiated consensus on what people regard as essential for a socially acceptable minimum standard of living.

The research identifies what is needed to meet physical, psychological and social needs at a minimum but acceptable level. It is not a poverty standard, and represents a minimum level which people have agreed nobody should be expected to live below.

This report presents the cost of the minimum essential food basket for the 4 household types, adjusted to reflect food costs in 2018. The baskets, first established for 2014 and 2016, are adjusted to 2018 prices using the appropriate Consumer Price Index (CPI (COICOP four-digit level)) classification, as published by the Office for National Statistics.