British consumers are spending a lower proportion of their income on food and drink than at any time since records began.
Results from the Office for National Statistics’ show that the proportion of household income going on food and soft drinks now comes to just 15%.
That is less than half the share it took when the first Family Expenditure Survey was conducted 50 years ago.
Then, the average household’s weekly spend came to £14.30, of which food and drink was the single biggest item at 33% (£4.72). Adjusted for inflation, that is equivalent to £80/week.
But in 2006, the average weekly spend on food and drink comes to just £47, out of a total disposable income of £456. Of this, £12.50 goes on meat, £3.60 on fresh vegetables, £2.90 on fresh fruit and £4.10 on non-alcoholic drinks.
Another £38 a week is spent in pubs, hotels and restaurants.
A spokeswoman for the National Consumer Council said that the falling proportion of income being spent on food simply reflected the strong economic growth and rising incomes the country had enjoyed over 50 years.
It did not mean that food prices were too low. Indeed, without the Common Agricultural Policy to support EU prices, food values would be even lower, she added.