Good food, but at what price?
By ANDY PARKS
AMANDA WARREN travels from Casino to Lismore every week to do her shopping because she thinks it's cheaper.
"I usually shop on Wednesday because they generally have specials on Wednesday and you can get some bargains," she said.
Amanda was out shopping with her partner Leon Ford and two-year-old Jacody when The Northern Star went to find out how much a basket of 'healthy food' cost in different areas around our region.
Amanda also has a 13-year-old daughter, Casey, and said they would normally spend between $150 and $200 a week to feed the four of them.
She said eating healthy food and keeping the price down was important to her.
"I buy my fresh fruit and vegetables separately and go to the butcher which works out a bit cheaper," she said.
"I've also started baking my own bread."
Kevin, from Evans Head, said he travelled to Lismore by bus every week to do his shopping because it was much cheaper, even after he added the $12 he spent on his bus fare.
"There's only one supermarket in Evans Head so I come up here and do a big shop and cart it all back home again on the bus," he said.
Kevin said he had compared prices at Christmas after spending $170 in Lismore and said the same items would have cost him $240 at home.
The Cancer Council of NSW recently released results from the most extensive survey of its kind in Australia. Not surprisingly, it showed people in remote areas were the hardest hit in terms of affordability, quality and variety of fruit and vegetables.
They also found prices across the Northern Rivers region varied considerably, with surveys carried out in Tweed Heads, Kingscliff, Mullumbimby, Alstonville and Evans Head. The Cancer Council used a template of items that would provide all of the nutritional requirements for a family of six for two weeks. They found prices ranged from $380.07 in Alstonville to $466.95 in Kingscliff.
The Northern Star took the list to Lismore and found the same items cost $410.72
The cheapest basket in the state was $337.29 at Blaxland in Western Sydney, with the most expensive $519.71 at Murrurundi in the Hunter Valley. The Cancer Council has recommended that government price surveillance mechanisms be introduced so all families can afford to buy and consume healthy food.
"A healthy diet is proven to be one of the biggest lifestyle choices in preventing cancer," Diana Fisher from the Cancer Council said.