Poorer families in Ireland spend up to a third of their incomes on food
Access to healthy food is a major issue for low-income families in Ireland, a new study has found.
The poorest families in the state spend a third of their income on food, according to research by Safefood.
One in ten families lives in 'food poverty', the research also found.
This is defined as the inability to have an nutritionally adequate diet.
Issues like affordability, location, low literacy, poor food knowledge and cooking skills as well as mental health issues can all contribute to food poverty.
Among low-income households, those with teenagers, those on social welfare and those in rural areas are worst affected.
Single adults living in rural places struggled the least in this demographic, the study found.
Generally, it found that poorer families eat less nutritious diets, are more likely to have excess weight issues and to suffer from poor health outcomes.
Diet is often the first thing to suffer when families or individuals live on a low income, said Safefood CEO Ray Dolan.
"Managing on a tight budget means that families with children, single adults living alone and pensioners have to make stark choices in how they spend their money," said Mr Dolan.
"Food spending is the flexible element of the household budget and people often fill up on cheap food that’s nutritionally poor when prioritising other bills that need to be paid.”