18 January 2018

Back to basics: Swerve the superfoods and save nearly £700

12 min read

Meera Khanna, Consumer PR Manager
Meera Khanna

Corporate PR Manager - Protection


New research by mutual insurer, Royal London, reveals we could save nearly £700 a year, or around £13 a week, by going back to basics and swerving the more expensive superfoods which claim to boost our wellbeing.

  • A review by Royal London of eight trending superfoods shows they could add up to £13.15 per week to your food bill, equating to nearly £700 a year which could be invested elsewhere
  • There has been a 202% global increase in food and drinks which are rich in nutrients being labelled as “superfood” 
  • Royal London and registered dietician and nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker have identified how super these foods really are and which ones are worth the investment

Between 2011 and 2015, there was a 202% global increase in nutrient-rich food and drink products being labelled as “superfood”[1]. Turmeric lattes, pickled watermelon rind and infused water are set to take the superfood stage in 2018 but Royal London research shows that adding these to your basket could hurt your finances, without necessarily helping your health.

Registered Dietician and Nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker explains how we can reap some of the superfood health benefits without the price tag:

"Superfoods are a great way to get people engaged with their diet because we all want to try the latest food trends. This can lead us to having a healthier attitude to our eating habits and lifestyle choices which is key to maintaining good health. However, we need a reality check when it comes to superfoods’ ‘magical powers’ because it’s important to recognise that no one food can keep us healthy, it’s all about context and balance.

Splashing out on the latest superfoods can often backfire on our wallets, without us reaping the full health benefits, so we shouldn’t forget the basics such as eating more fruit and vegetables and enjoying favourite foods in moderation. Ultimately, going back to the basics will have a greater impact in the long term rather than falling into the “fad” trap of being a super fool obsessing over superfoods."

Royal London compared the cost of eight superfoods with basic equivalents and found turmeric latte mix (125g), a top trending superfood with antioxidant properties, costs on average £4.25 more than regular latte mix. However, for the turmeric to make a real impact on your health, you would have to consume the entire 125g - or 60 lattes - in one go.

Bircher muesli, which contains three of the five food groups needed for a healthy balanced diet, was almost £2.50 more expensive than the basic muesli. Adding a handful of fruits or nuts to your basic muesli will have a similar effect to eating Bircher muesli and can save you some money.

Royal London’s consumer spokesperson, Mona Patel, said:

"We’re spending a lot of money on superfoods for their perceived health benefits, but it’s easy to forget about their long-term costs. The extra £13 a week you may be spending on superfoods is worth thinking about carefully. While there may be some health benefits from some of these foods, there may be better ways of protecting yourself and your family’s health and well-being in the future - your money might just be better spent elsewhere."

Superfools for superfood?

The research also found that a select few superfoods are so exclusive that their prices soar way above the average of their less-super equivalent.

Reishi Mushrooms, for example, cost on average £39.96 for 250 grams, with perceived superpowers including anti-inflammatory and mental clarity abilities. Their less-super sibling, the Chestnut mushroom, costs on average just 96p for 250 grams.

Dr Sarah Schenker partners with Royal London to share her top tips for going back to basics and getting the maximum health benefits from your diet in 2018:

  1. Eat a variety of different fruit and veg every day and aim for 5 portions or more. Royal London’s research shows that opting for basic vegetables such as broccoli or chestnut mushrooms, instead of their superfood equivalents, will also save you money. All types count: fresh, frozen, tinned and dried, even a 150ml portion of pure juice or smoothie counts once.
  2. Up your fibre intake by including whole grains, pulses and beans. Opt for wholegrain varieties of bread or rice, try alternative grains such as quinoa and try to incorporate more beans and pulses into your usual dishes such as adding chickpeas to a stew or soup or replacing half the meat with lentils.
  3. Aim to eat well balanced meals that include a good source of protein, a moderate amount of wholegrain carbohydrate and plenty of veg. Meals that are satisfying and make you feel fuller for longer will keep blood sugar levels more even and help prevent hunger pangs and mindless snacking between meals.
  4. Incorporate healthy fats into your diet by choosing oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, wholegrains and plant oils such as olive or rapeseed.

- ENDS -

For further information please contact:

Meera Khanna, Corporate PR Manager - Protection

Notes to editor

  1. According to Mintel data, between 2011 and 2015, there was a 202% global increase in nutrient-rich food and drink products being labelled as “superfood”. http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/super-growth-for-super-foods-new-product-development-shoots-up-202-globally-over-the-past-five-years 
  2. Desk research into superfood and basic equivalent products was carried out in January 2018. All prices are sourced from http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/ and are subject to fluctuation.
  3. The table below shows eight trending superfoods of 2018 compared to their basic equivalent. Adding these eight items to your basket, could increase your shopping bill by £680.80 a year or around £13 per week.

About Royal London:

Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK, with funds under management of £117 billion, 8.8 million policies in force and 3,745 employees. Figures quoted are as at 30 June 2018.