Cost of living and food prices

If you’re struggling with bills and the cost of living, use our free resources to help you eat healthily within your budget.

Many people in the UK are struggling to buy nutritious food as the cost of living rises.

This is not a new problem – we’ve known for many years that disadvantaged people are more likely to have poorer health, and to develop cancer. The reasons for this are complex and not easy to change – you can explore the links between health and wealth in more detail on The Health Foundation’s website.

However, there are ways to reduce your risk of cancer, even when money is tight, by staying informed about what to eat and cook, using our free health guides and booklets.

> Jump to resources

Why is there a cost of living crisis?

The main reason is that wages haven’t kept up with prices over the last year. If prices go up but your wages don’t, your money is more stretched.

Are food prices going up?

Yes – and even when inflation has fallen, food prices have continued to rise. In the 12 months to December 2022, food prices rose by just under 17%.

The rise in food prices is having a serious impact on people’s lives. More than 60% of people living in the most deprived parts of the UK say they’re buying less food than a year ago. And there has been a drastic increase in food insecurity – this is when people eat smaller meals, skip meals, don’t eat even when they’re hungry, or don’t eat all day.

You can explore this data in more detail on The Food Foundation’s website.

Citizens Advice has information on financial support you may be entitled to, including:

  • benefits
  • help with energy bills
  • the Healthy Start scheme
  • food banks

Our free resources

We don’t know when the cost of living crisis will ease or end, and it’s important not to put your health on hold.

Free cookbooks

All our cookbooks are free to download, and you can also order 3 cookbooks to be posted to you for free. This includes Budget bites, our newest cookbook, which has 10 family-friendly, healthy recipes. We also have more low-cost recipes online.

> Our nutritionist Matt explains more about eating healthily and cheaply

Free health guides

When you’re struggling with money, your health may be something you don’t want to worry about right now. But our free health guides – to download or we’ll send you a copy in the post – have practical tips and advice to show how changes now can help you reduce your risk of cancer.

On the blog

> How do I cook easy meals on a budget?

Tips on planning, storing and shopping in a way that costs less.

> Learn to love your kitchen cupboard essentials

Cans and tins are some of the cheapest ways to buy food including healthy fish, vegetables, fruit and pulses (beans). They last for a long time, are versatile and are just as nutritious as more expensive fresh food.

> 10 ways to help prevent food waste

Throwing away food is always bad for your wallet. Our nutritionist Rachel shares her top tips – which actually work – and explains the difference between use by and best before dates.

Exercise is free

Staying active can really benefit your mental health and is also a proven way to reduce your risk of cancer.

Stress and worrying about money can make us reluctant to get out there, so take inspiration from Geoff or Olivia‘s stories about moving more, or send off for a free booklet on keeping active.

Free or low-cost ways to exercise include:

  • Walking (including walking to the shops, or bus stop, or walking up and down stairs)
  • Playing ball games in the park
  • Doing an exercise video at home
  • Running in a local park (try Parkrun)

Help us help more people

If you haven’t been badly affected by the cost of living crisis, and are able to make a donation to our work to help us reach more people, thank you.