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Britons turn to comfort food, National Food survey reveals

07-Nov-2001

Britons snack more, drink more and eat out more in a rush for comfort food that could set waistlines bulging, a survey said on Monday.



The National Food Survey for 2000 showed that the average Briton spent more on food last year than ever before and increasingly turned to foods that are considered sinful: cheese, cake, cream desserts, chocolate and soft drinks.



The government survey placed the national average spending on food and drink at 25 pounds per person per week, up 4.3 per cent from last year.



Out of the total, 15.20 pounds was spent on groceries and another 2.44 pounds went on snacks and alcohol.



Men consumed more meat, sandwiches and alcohol, while women ate more salads, ice cream and cakes, said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.



Fifteen to 24-year-olds ate the most confectionery and soft drinks, while five- to 14-year-olds gobbled the most chips, and twice as many cakes as anyone else. Pensioners emerged as the most carefree, eating the most dairy products, meat, sugar and cakes.



Adult-only households spent around 30 per cent of their weekly food bill on restaurants, with men spending 31 per cent more than women on food and four times as much on alcohol.



Ethnic meals, pizzas, sandwiches and noodles were the treat of choice for Londoners, who at 10.44 pounds per person per week spent the most on eating out.



People in the Northeast stuck to expectations and opted for meat and potatoes, while the Scots defied their national stereotype by leading in the sobriety stakes, spending a mere 1.30 pounds on alcohol.



Despite all the bad food news, fruit consumption also increased a hefty five per cent compared to last year.



But some food is falling out of favour.



Consumption of pork, mutton and lamb fell, as did tinned vegetables and fruit, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.



Bucking the trend, Sainsbury's supermarket chain said it was joining a campaign on Monday for home-grown sprouts to be renamed British sprouts in the hope shoppers will rediscover an old favourite.

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