The only treatment for food allergies is to avoid the food(s) you are allergic to. We are very lucky that there has been huge progress in the availability of ‘free from’ foods in the past few years. However these foods are much more expensive than normal foods. Unlike with coeliac disease, people with food allergies do not receive any food on prescription or any support towards the cost of substituting foods.
As an experiment I thought I’d compare the price of some everyday products with some ‘free from’ equivalents. I usually do my shopping with Ocado (voucher in sidebar>>>) as they have the best range of free from foods (otherwise I’d have to go to more than one supermarket to get everything we need) so I’ve used their prices.
|Type of Food||Normal Food||Free From Food|
|Milk||Semi Skimmed Milk
43.6p per litre
|Koko Dairy Free Milk
£1.40 per litre
|Bread||White & Wholemeal Medium Sliced
16.8p per 100g
|Genius Gluten Free White Sliced bread
54p per 100g
|Pasta||Essential Waitrose Fusilli
17p per 100g
|Love Life Gluten Free Fusilli
37.8p per 100g
|Sausages||Richmond Thick Pork Sausages
£4.41 per kg
|Musk’s Newmarket Gluten Free Sausages
£7.81 per kg
|Digestive Biscuits||McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits
21.8p per 100g
|Lovemore Free From Digestive Biscuits
£1.11 per 100g
|Rice crispies||Kellogg’s Rice Crispies
52.7p per 100g
|Nature’s Path Free From Rice Cereal
£1.06 per 100g
46.4p per 100g
£1.01 per 100g
|Flour||Essential Waitrose Plain Flour
53.3p per kg
|Doves Farm Gluten & Wheat Free Plain White Flour Blend
£1.53 per kg
It’s quite shocking really! Most things are at least double, if not triple the price! The smallest difference is from sausages, I guess because wheat is not the main ingredient. Free from foods are also not always as nutritious, because they are not always fortified with vitamins (unlike wheat). It’s no wonder our food bills have shot up in the past couple of years since our youngest was born, who has multiple allergies.
Why is it that people who have coeliac disease can get food on prescription, but those with food allergies can’t? The treatment is the same (avoid the food in question). I’m not sure where I stand on this issue. Wheat and dairy are heavily subsidised by the government, which is why they are so cheap. Maybe it’s time for the government to reduce or remove these subsidies as so many people do not eat them nowadays (whether due to a medical reason or by choice). Perhaps they could subsidise other foods instead, like vegetables, which gram for gram contain far more nutrients than wheat? I think this would go a long way to changing the nation’s eating habits for the better.
In the meantime, those who have food allergies have to find ways to get by, and my next blog post will be my money saving tips for reducing food bills.
Do you or someone in your family have allergies? Have you noticed your food bills go up? What do you think the solution is?