As the cost of living continues to rise, consumers are adapting and looking after their health as best they can. The findings from our 2023 Good Food Nation Report – that surveyed 2,013 UK consumers (48% male, 52% female) aged 16 and over about their food shopping and eating habits – suggests that eating healthily is a priority, despite economic constraints.


A health-conscious nation

An array of different foods making up a balanced diet

The picture painted is one of a health-conscious nation. Some 69% of people surveyed consider themselves healthy eaters*. Over a third (34%) of respondents said they eat intuitively and listen to what their body wants, and over a fifth (22%) said they focus more on nutritional content than calories. Among those more likely to count calories (14%), there’s a generational divide: those in the 16-24 age bracket are almost four times more likely to count calories than those aged 55 and over (25% versus 7%). More people like calories being included on menus (21%) than don’t (15%).

*'Very healthy' and 'fairly healthy' responses combined.

For healthy eating ideas:

Healthy gluten-free recipes
Quick and healthy recipes
65 healthy breakfasts
Healthy foods kids will love
10 healthy lunchbox ideas for kids
What is the cheapest healthy diet?
How healthy is your meal deal?

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Impact of cost of living

A man shopping in the ready meal section of the supermarket

Nearly a third (31%) of people across the UK that took part in the survey said the cost of living has not impacted their healthy eating habits at all. But, over a quarter of UK consumers (28%) reported eating less healthily because it’s too expensive to do so. Three in five (60%) have made changes to their diet because of the cost of ingredients. The top three measures they’re taking are eating more ready meals and processed foods (19%), cooking less from scratch (17%) and cutting back on organic food (16%). Over a quarter (28%) of consumers have changed their supermarket to save money.

For budget-friendly cooking ideas:

Budget-friendly meal plan
Budget autumn recipes
Budget entertaining recipes
Budget slow-cooker recipes
20 budget storecupboard meals
Top 10 healthy budget dinners
Budget supermarket swap recipes

Air-fryer and healthy eating

Someone cooking with air-fryer

Saving money and eating healthily aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. They coincide in the form of our beloved air-fryers. Some 46% of respondents already have one, while 23% are planning a purchase. Their energy-efficiency and health benefits are well known by those who already own one, so little wonder over a fifth (23%) use an air-fryer daily.

For more energy-efficient cooking ideas:

Air-fryer recipes
Air-fryer Christmas recipes
How to clean an air-fryer
What shouldn't you cook in an air-fryer
Your guide to energy-efficient cooking
Family slow cooker ideas
Healthy slow cooker meals

Limiting food waste to reduce cost

Fruit, vegetables, milk and bread in an open bin

Over a third (36%) of UK consumers reported reducing their leftovers this past year in order** to save money (59%), because they’re meal-planning more carefully (44%) or to cut down on waste to help the planet (34%).

Could AI hold the key to meal-planning, writing shopping lists and recipe sourcing, potentially saving us time and resources? While the current adoption is modest, with only 14% of surveyed individuals having employed generative AI tools for recipe generation, there's reason to be optimistic about the future. A significant 27% anticipate utilising such tools in the future. Moreover, the fact that 31% are willing to explore AI for meal planning and 34% are open to using it for crafting shopping lists indicates a promising avenue for potential advancement.

**'Somewhat less' and 'significantly less' responses combined.

More ideas for meal planning:

Easy 7-day family meal plan
Family budget meal plan
Freezable comfort food
Storecupboard comfort food
Storecupboard baking
Meal prep recipes
Vegetarian batch cooking


This research, commissioned by Immediate Media, was conducted by Censuswide between 10-14 August 2023. A total of 2,013 nationally representative UK consumers participated, all were aged 16+. Census wide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

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