There has been a huge amount of media press recently, focusing on how to eat for less money, and in particular, how to eat for a pound a day. And even celebrities have got in on the act, with high-profile Hollywood A listers, such as Ben Affleck and Hugh Jackman pledging to spend only a pound a day on food, in an attempt to raise awareness of extreme poverty across the globe.
In the UK, we are not suffering from the effects of extreme starvation, as many Third World countries are, but we are in the midst of a double dip recession, and austerity measures and benefit cuts are affecting many of the UK’s poorest families.
With this in mind, many supermarkets are taking on the challenge of providing good nutrition for a budget price, and the latest supermarket to promote a budget meal range is Aldi. But these are no ready meal options, they are home cooked recipes using ingredients bought in the store.
Aldi have teamed up with nutritionist Angela Dowden to create recipes for healthy, but cost-effective meals, which include as pea soup, ham bagels, baked potatoes with mushrooms, sardine fishcakes and turkey chilli, all of which will cost just £1 a day. The supermarket have put together a week-long menu of ‘nutritional and tasty breakfasts, lunches and dinners all for under £1’, which will alongside the Live Below The Line challenge, an initiative of the Global Poverty Project.
The meal planners are designed to feed a family of four, so for single people who live on their own, they might have to eat the same food for a few days running.
However, not everyone is convinced that you can eat, using these recipes, for £1 a day. Many of the recipes are assuming that you already have certain ‘store cupboard’ ingredients, such as oil, garlic, butter, stock cubes, seasoning, tomato puree, lemon juice, celery sticks, soy sauce, horseradish sauce, an egg, tomato ketchup, etc etc.
To buy these ingredients from new would cost around £20 if you do not have them already in your cupboards, so you cannot say that a teaspoon of horseradish is around 3p, or a squeeze of tomato sauce is 7p. If you do not have the essential store cupboard ingredients there, the cost is much more than a pound a day, therefore Aldi’s claims are misleading.
It seems that Aldi have costed per usage and not costed per purchase, which would significantly raise the price of each meal. But are we missing the point? Are Aldi trying to inspire the nation to get behind the pound a day challenge?
Angela Dowden thinks so: “Eating for less doesn’t have to mean existing entirely on a diet of beans, rice and pasta. Buying versatile ingredients helps to create a combination of tasty dishes, as well as cutting costs. Once you know how, eating for £1-a-day can be easier than you’d think.”
All pictures courtesy Corbis.