Monthly spend on treats almost €160

Safefood ambassadors, broadcaster Suzanne Kane and Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist Dr Colman Noctor, with Meadow Neville and Alexander Bellintani at the launch of the START campaign. (Picture: Andres Poveda)

New research shows that during April this year, families spent almost twice as much on treat foods as they did on fruit and vegetables. 

Of an average monthly spend of €746, families spent €159 on chocolate, crisps and biscuits and €86 on fruit and vegetables. The HSE, Healthy Ireland and safefood have launched a new START campaign to encourage parents to take a step towards a healthier family lifestyle by reducing the amount of treats they give their children.

Parents told the campaign they are aware that the amount of treats in their families’ diet has increased and would welcome advice on how they can reduce this. With rising costs, the way families shop and eat may well need to be examined more closely.

Data from the CSO’s Consumer Price Index survey in April 2022 shows that price increases for foods like crisps, confectionary and soft drinks ranged from 1.9% to 2.2% in the past 12 months. This compares with increases ranging from 0.3% for vegetables and 1.8% for fruit, 4.7% for meat, 8.1% for bread and 8.9% for milk.

The START campaign aims to support parents and guardians to talk to children about reducing treats as a family and minimise intake of foods high in fat, salt and sugar.

The campaign website includes lots of practical advice and support on how to reduce treats, ideas for healthy snacks and advice from parenting experts.