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Families Spend Less On Fresh Vegetables Than On Takeaways

Saturday, January 20th, 2007 at 10:29 by Sue Stewart

I think it was Disraeli who said that there are ‚??lies, damn lies and statistics‚??. Take a large number of figures and anyone - even me, and believe me I‚??m no number-cruncher - can make of them what they will.

I‚??ve stolen the above headline from The Independent, though they’re not the only ones presenting it this way, I suspect.

I like it because it‚??s an illustration of the truth - families really do spend less on fresh vegetables than on takeaways. That‚??s official. That information comes not just from the reporter but from the Office for National Statistics. The ONS have confirmed that families - that is us, Joe Public and Offspring - spend an average of ¬£3.40 per week on fresh veg. We spend ¬£3.80 per week on takeaways.

Even leaving aside the small but significant point that fresh vegetables are generally cheap and takeaways are not, to put it like that is a tad misleading. Admittedly a dog donner from the local greasepit will be cheaper than asparagus, in or out of season, but generally cabbages cost less than Chinese food (except when it‚??s fried cabbage masquerading as seaweed. But that‚??s another story). So we would need to buy a lot of vegetables to out price even one small takeaway. (Yes, I know that we should buy and eat a lot of fresh vegetables, but that‚??s another story, too.)

What goes conveniently unmentioned in presenting the figures this way is that families spend money on fresh fruit, too - an average of ¬£2.80 per week, according to the ONS. But I don‚??t see anyone rushing to combine that with the fresh veg figure to tell us that - shockingly - the nation spends on average ¬£6.20 per week on fresh fruit and veg compared to ¬£3.80 per week on takeaways.

Why is that, d‚??you think? Could it be that our national identity as lazy, unhealthy, crap-eating couch-potatoes might be threatened if it was presented that way round? I think it might.

We‚??re only getting the juicy bits, the bits that help to bolster the current campaign. It might be a good campaign, but I‚??d still rather have the issues covered properly, thank you, not just conveniently. Bandying numbers about¬†as a way to stop people thinking -¬†’This is a fact.¬† Therefore¬†it must be right.’

Lies, damn lies and statistics, see? ‚??Scuse me. I‚??m off for a cheeseburger. Home-made - that‚??ll scramble the statistics.

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One Comment on “Families Spend Less On Fresh Vegetables Than On Takeaways”

  1. Rhys Wilcox Says:

    And what if part of my pizza takeaway was a bowl of salad? Huh?

    Not that it was, mind. I’m just saying, what if. My pizza had peppers on it, too. I had to pick them off though cos I don’t like them.

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