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For every £1 spent on food & drink in Birmingham, it costs the city £0.90

Posted on 30th March 2017 by Kate Cooper

Few realise just how much the dietary effects of the food and drink sector cost us here in Birmingham, as in every city across the UK.

The stark economic stresses are summed up by these figures:

We spend £3.4bn/year on food and drink here
(56% on household spend, 44% on catering services)

AND

£2.6bn/year on obesity-related costs
£0.45bn/year on alcohol-related harm
plus dental care costs

i.e. for every £1 we spend on food and drink in the city, we spend £0.90p on its dietary effects.

Nearly all of the £0.90/£1 cost is locally borne. Nearly all of the profit on the £1 spend leaves the city.

note: & these locally-borne cost don’t include the disposal or recycling costs of packaging; e.g. of the 58M Coca-Cola cans and bottles per year.**

Where the statistics above come from:

  1. Spend of £3.4bn/year is an extrapolated figure from Defra’s UK figures; see page 7 of the Food Statistics Pocketbook 2016
    (
    in an earlier document, I gave the inaccurate figure of £4.02bn)
  2. Obesity-related costs of £2.6bn/year are from Dr Andrew Coward, Chair of the South Birmingham CCG*
  3. The cost of £0.45bn/year on alcohol-related harm is an extrapolated figure of national statistics from the Government Alcohol Strategy 2012

* Dr Coward’s figure is higher than the figure we can extrapolate from those from the Public Health National Obesity Observatory. I queried this with Dr Coward, who explained that his figure included the knock-on economic costs of lost working days.

** see also: Coca Cola and its effects on us and the city (Sept 2015)

photo of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham by Elliott Brown

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Nutrition and public health

Food poverty, food insecurity

Food safety and integrity

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