Alfred's Kitchen
Alfred's Kitchen

Takeaway foods eating our wallets

BUYING takeaway food has become an expensive daily habit for many Australians.

One in 10 families with children aged under three buy takeaway meals daily, as do 25-to-29 year olds, according to new research commissioned by pasta company San Remo.

Busier lifestyles and an explosion in food delivery apps have resulted in more than 20 per cent of Australians ordering takeaway at least weekly and spending upwards of $1200 a year on it, it found.

Sort My Money founder David Rankin said takeaway had been increasing but its costs often slipped below people's spending radar.

"Takeaway used to be a luxury for Australian families and now has become the norm," he said.

"Convenience always has a price tag attached to it, even if you don't realise it at the time."

Mr Rankin said the idea that people were too busy to cook was "a cop-out".

Budgeting specialist David Rankin says planning can save you plenty. Picture: Mitch Bear
Budgeting specialist David Rankin says planning can save you plenty. Picture: Mitch Bear


"If you think ahead and get organised, it's absolutely possible to live without takeaway week to week, and there's a financial dividend that you will enjoy," he said.

San Remo's chief marketing officer, Erik de Roos, said city dwellers could now get a range of meals at the touch of a button "but these costs add up".

The research found:

• The average Australian spends $23.70 on a takeaway meal, with women spending more than men ($27.70 versus $21.40).

• More than 40 per cent of families with kids buy takeaway at least once a week and spend an average $33.

• Up to two-thirds of students buy takeaway at least once a week.

• Almost 40 per cent of unemployed people buy takeaway weekly or more often.

Mr de Roos said creating nutritious recipes was easy, affordable and "can cost less than the delivery fee".

He said some home-cooked dishes could cost less than $5 to feed a family of four.

The number of families with both parents working was increasing steadily, Mr de Roos said, and this could lead to home-cooked meals being de-prioritised.

"If you're a takeaway addict, calculate how much you spend each week or month, and put aside those funds for something special," he said.

"Seeing the funds for a family holiday or new car accumulate can be a real motivator.

"It's a mindset exercise. We often consider takeaway as a treat, but, in fact, creating something from scratch should be considered as a gift to your body and your wallet."

TAKE DOWN TAKEAWAY COSTS

• Plan your shopping with a list and look for discounts.

• Schedule time to prepare the food, and consider making cooking a family activity.

• Educate yourself with recipe research and maybe a cooking course.

• Start with simple recipes and build up a repertoire.


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