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Can a UK family really make meals for 30p?

Can a UK family really make meals for 30p?

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Politician Lee Anderson’s recent claim that it is possible to make meals for 30p has stirred much public debate. wanted to test the theory: so we compiled a list of 10 of Britain’s favourite budget-friendly dishes, from beans on toast to spaghetti bolognaise. 

We found that none of the meals – following popular recipes online and with prices sourced at the cheapest rate from Asda – could be made for less than 30p per person. 

At the bottom of the scale, homemade tomato soup, using a recipe from, came in at 63p for a meal and 32p per person, rising to 41p when we added estimated power usage. 

​​An electric oven uses about 0.87 kWh of electricity an hour. So, averaging costs from all energy providers in the UK, that works out at about 14p an hour. 

At the more expensive end, a sausage ragu made to BBC Good Food’s recipe for four came in at £4.50 for the meal and £1.13 per person, rising to £1.23 with power added. 

Jonathan Merry, chief executive of, comments:

“There will always be variables when estimating a food budget, but our research shows that it is very difficult to make a meal for less than 30p, even when that’s a group meal divided per person. 

“That is especially true at a time when inflation is at a 40-year high of 9% and people’s energy bills are going through the roof. 

“It’s certainly true that things like swapping supermarkets for better deals, batch cooking ahead of time and hunting out more cost-effective recipes can cut bills; but it’s also true that this isn’t always easy or even possible for busy families.” 

MealRecipeCost per PersonCost per MealCost for Power (1hr = 14p)Total Cost for 1 person
Cheesy Broccoli pasta£0.43£1.73£0.04£0.47
Beans on£0.52£1.04£0.02£0.54
Jacket Potato with£0.39£0.77£0.19£0.58
Easy lentil£0.62£2.48£0.10£0.72
Simple stir£0.90£3.59£0.02£0.92
Meatballs with£0.92£3.66£0.14£1.06
Yasmin Purnell
Yasmin Purnell
Yasmin Purnell is a Content Writer and Editor for Yasmin has a wealth of experience writing across a range of topics within the personal finance, student, and business niche. Yasmin joined the team with the one main mission to provide accessible financial, career and business information and advice for all.