Organisations involved in tackling food poverty have collaborated with researchers and dietitians from the University of Manchester to create an event being held at Manchester Food and Drink Festival.
‘Tackling Food Poverty and the Octogenarian Cooks’ will be an interactive cooking demonstration and taster session, and will involve the University, charities, local chef Maz Linford and older people, many in their 80s, sharing their recipes and cooking skills.
1.6 million UK pensioners live below the poverty line, and research has highlighted how some low income older households are facing having to choose between spending money on food or heating their homes.
Older people often have a reduced appetite, lower energy use, lower biological and physiological functions, and can have reduced senses of smell and taste. Food is more than just nutrition – it is an important part of peoples identities and family life – but nearly 4 million older people live alone, and may have neither the energy nor inclination to cook from scratch.
The Tackling Food Poverty project involved The University of Manchester working with charities including Cracking Good Food and Fareshare Manchester to research ways to tackle food insecurity and reduce food waste. It has developed partnerships for fresh food purchasing, explored ways to get food parcels to those who need them, and provided hands-on cooking training for people who wanted to learn how to make good affordable food from scratch, and understand more about healthy eating.
This event will enable the public to try cooking some of the recipes and taste the food cooked as part of the project. It will include a number of older people demonstrating their favourite recipes, including those from their childhood that they still cook now.
Dr Kingsley Purdam, a lecturer and expert on food insecurity, led the Tackling Food Poverty project for the University of Manchester. His recent research concluded that food insecurity in the UK is a much wider problem than has been previously recognised, and the rapid growth in the number of foodbanks and food donation points in supermarkets suggests a ‘normalisation’ of food aid in the UK.
“The University of Manchester is committed to making a positive difference in the drive to tackle poverty and inequalities. This event will bring together older people to share their cooking skills, but also highlight the risks of under-nutrition in older age, which can lead to poorer health outcomes, delays in recovery from illness and longer periods in hospital.”