New research reveals healthy packed lunches cost 45% more than unhealthy options

16 May 2024
A report from the Food Foundation highlights significant price disparities between healthy and unhealthy lunch items in UK supermarkets.

The report analysed the cost of lunch essentials at five major UK retailers and revealed notable price variations and increases. 

For example, at Aldi, unhealthy packed lunches cost nearly half as much at £5.68 compared to healthier items totalling £10.08. In contrast, at Tesco, a healthy option costs less than a pound more than unhealthier options. Parents shopping at Sainsbury’s are now paying 9% more for the same packed lunch as they when school started in September 2023.   

The unhealthy lunch items researched included white bread, chocolate spread and flavoured yoghurt. Whereas healthier items consisted of wholemeal bread, fruit, and vegetables.   

Many parents turn to packed lunches when they can’t afford school meals. With nearly one million children missing out on free school meals owing to the draconian eligibility threshold, it is time universal free school meals became a reality.  

You can read the Food Foundation’s full report here.