Low-income families in Scotland are at an increasing risk of malnutrition as the price of some essential food items continues to soar.
A report by Which? found cupboard staples including fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat and porridge were subject to the highest price hikes with some increasing by as much as 144% in the last year.
Nutritionists say the rising prices of essential items will have a negative impact on families’ diets.
Public health nutritionist Dr Ada Garcia from Glasgow University said: “Of course I am concerned. Fresh produce is going to be less affordable for people.
“They are going to have less vitamins, less micronutrients that help our immune systems and keep us healthy.
“But also people tend to then consume more foods that are high in fat, high in sugar, high in salt and those are the things that we want to avoid.”
Dr Garcia added that things like canned beans, pulses and fish were good alternatives to fresh meat and fish and frozen vegetables could reduce food waste.
It comes as one Midlothian food bank said it had seen demand rise dramatically over the last few months and feared the crisis would deepen as we head into winter.
Founder of Food Facts Friends, Mark Wells said: “People are queuing to come and use the pantry and I am starting to struggle.
“We’ve been trying to put things in place and plan ahead to where we will get stock from. We want to make sure children and families have food come the winter time.”
He added that as many of their regular donors were unable to donate as much, the charity was finding it more difficult to keep shelves stocked.
“We need to get the word out about poverty and the way people are living,” he said.
Food Facts Friends began as a food bank but added the pantry in July.
Unlike a food bank, users do not need a referral and can get access without having to show any documentation or answer any questions.
Shoppers are able to browse a variety of products and select a full shop including fresh fruits and vegetables, bakery items, freezer goods and cupboard staples all for just £3.50.
“It’s about a wee bit of dignity,” said volunteer Morag Beveridge. “They can come into the food store and have an affordable shop to ease the pressure of whatever finances they have.”
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