News Health

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Health-conscious shoppers can pay dearly for convenience of five-a-day

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

Published 07/07/2014 | 02:30

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Pauline McCreery at her fruit stall on Moore Street, Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Pauline McCreery at her fruit stall on Moore Street, Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Pauline McCreery at her fruit stall on Moore Street, Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Pauline McCreery at her fruit stall on Moore Street, Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron

HEALTHY eating can be expensive if you shop in convenience stores.

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Getting your five-a-day of fruit and veg can quickly add up cost-wise with a single banana more than twice as dear in some stores as others.

A banana will cost you €0.67 in Bus Stop on Dublin's Grafton Street, compared to just €0.25 a couple of hundred yards away in Dunnes.

An orange, meanwhile, will set you back €0.85 in Londis on Westmoreland St which is between 20pc and 70pc more expensive than many other nearby outlets.

Londis was the most expensive place to buy fruit in our survey, coming in 66pc dearer for the items surveyed than cheapest Dunnes.

While supermarkets are invariably cheaper than convenience stores for fruit, there is still big variation between different convenience outlets, with prices varying by up to 50pc at rival stores.

Some also have special offers with Centra offering three pieces for €1.60 for example, or Spar selling packets of five small pieces of fruit for €2.

Londis ADM said in a statement that Griffin's Londis Westmoreland Street caters for city centre convenience shoppers and as such has a selected fruit and vegetable offering.

"The store caters for its target market and ensures that value is offered across the store," it said in the firm's statement.

Sinead Keenan, of Healthy Food for All, a charity that campaigns to make nutritious food easier easier to obtain, said that many people in disadvantaged areas didn't have access to cheaper supermarkets if they didn't have a car.

Its own research had shown that it could be up to 10 times cheaper to get your calories from foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt than from nutritious foods like fruit, vegetables and fish.

Shelf-life

"The cost of food can vary enormously between different outlets, and if you don't have access to cheaper stores it can be very difficult to afford the healthier options," said Ms Keenan.

Fresh fruit and veg obviously had a short shelf-life so it was difficult for convenience outlets to provide a large range at cheaper prices, meaning it was vital to ensure communities had suitable retail outlets.

Good planning was essential to ensure enough shops and competition so that people could access healthy food.

"We don't want the situation like in the Celtic Tiger where huge estates were put up with no provision for supermarkets so that people without cars are unable to access healthy food," said Ms Keenan.

Irish Independent

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