Weekly Poll – Rising Food Costs

Each week Disability Equality Scotland sends out a poll question to our members and for the week beginning 24 April, we asked a question about rising food costs. Any identifying information within respondents’ comments has been removed. Please note that this is a snapshot of the views of our membership and does not reflect the policy stance of Disability Equality Scotland. If you plan to reference the findings featured in this report, please contact us in advance so that we are aware of this.

Results– 89 respondents

Have you changed any of your grocery shopping habits to save money?

  • Yes – 89%
  • No – 11%


We have provided verbatim comments where appropriate to illustrate strength of feeling or personal experience.

Cheaper Alternatives

The majority of respondents stated that they have changed their grocery shopping habits. When reflecting on the changes, some respondents stated that they had switched to cheaper alternatives and were no longer purchasing luxury items.

“Being more aware of prices – buying when special offers are on, buying cheaper brands, buying from different shops to get best prices, buying from the ‘reduced’ section and freezing to use at a later date.”

“We’ve had to stop even the smallest of treats as they are now a lot more expensive than before.”

“I cannot afford to buy meat on my pension money, I switched to just vegetables, rice, and pasta and very occasionally to fish. I am 81 years old, and it feels as we are back to what it was during the war.”

“We buy non branded goods now instead of the regular ones. We also only buy what we need for a couple of days at a time.”

It was noted that switching to alternative products can be challenging for people with food allergies.

“Change in brands but this has been a challenge due to food allergies, some of the cheaper brands have more artificial or allergens that don’t suit.”

“My family have multiple food allergies; our health conditions mean our diets are severely limited and we try to eat only organic. Organic is hard to buy where we live so we have to order online. This can be VERY costly for us.”

Skipping Meals

There were concerning comments from some respondents who stated that rising food prices had resulted in them eating less and skipping meals. In certain instances, respondents had resorted to using a food bank in their local area.

“Buying less, buying from a discount retailer, buying own brand products,  Eating less frequently and skipping meals.”

“Eating less and skipping some normal eating times e.g Breakfast, Lunch Etc”

“Sometimes we’ve taken to going without – having plain food rather than flavoured with spices and sauces.”

“I use the community foodbank and only have one hot cooked meal per day. I have given up tea and coffee, I don’t buy as much vegetables as I did, and I hang around for shelf price reductions in the evening.”

“On weeks that I can’t afford food I use my local food bank.”

Rural Areas

For people living in rural communities across Scotland, it was observed that there is a lack of choice, meaning that there is not always an option to switch to a cheaper alternative.

“Living on a Scottish island greatly reduces our availability choices to shop elsewhere.”

“I think it’s important to realise that disabled people, especially those in rural areas can’t often switch to a lower cost retailer as there’s none available in the local area.”

“Most small towns and villages will have something like a Co-op and a Tesco but there’s unlikely an Aldi or a Lidl which means the cheapest retailers are not available. Also, another issue is that even if you can buy in bulk a large number of companies won’t deliver to the Highlands or Islands or will charge excessive amounts which also presents cost challenges.”

Buying in Bulk

Some respondents stated that they had been purchasing in bulk when items are discounted. However, one respondent noted that they could not afford to buy in bulk.

“I’m buying in bulk when items are cheaper.”

“Bulk buying has become much more difficult, even though it is cheaper per item we can’t get the money together to bulk buy anymore. This means that we end up paying more per item and having to go without but there doesn’t seem to be any alternatives.”

Growing Own Food

Some respondents noted that rising food prices had led to growing their own food.

“We’re having to look into setting up vegetable patches to have food but the only thing we’ve successfully grown are rhubarb and chives. We’re regrowing the same spring onions over and over in a glass of water to avoid buying more. We’re having to make trades with chicken owners to get eggs.”

“We are trying to grow more salads and veg ourselves, also to bake our own bread and crackers, but we can’t easily grow fruit or of course meat, so we have to further limit our diets. Our food bill is still extortionate, and we have to limit how we spend in other ways to compensate.”

“Growing what we can in tubs. Getting what vegetables we can in bulk and freezing as much as possible.”


The majority of respondents (89%) reported of having changed their grocery shopping habits as a result of rising food costs. This included switching to cheaper brands or shopping around to find the best price available. For people living in rural areas there is less choice available to shop around. Although some people have resorted to bulk buying, it was noted that it is not always possible to afford this. Concerning comments were raised from respondents who are eating less and skipping meals. Some have resorted to using food banks or growing their own food.