Pub owner lives off £1 for food per day to highlight cost of living crisis

A pub landlord has cut his food spending from £200 per week to £5 per week to highlight the rising cost of living.

Craig Harker, 35, from Stockton on Tees, says he wanted to highlight the fact that many people are “not living, but surviving”.

The father-of-three says he is used to spending £200 a week on food but fed himself for £1 per day during his week-long experiment.

Harker says he was inspired by comments made by Tory MP Lee Anderson a few weeks ago, where Anderson said that people can make meals costing as low as 30p.

Harker, who runs his chain of George Pub & Grill venues across Teeside, Yorkshire, adds: “The rising costs of everything has been popping up on social media and on the news everywhere.

“People are cutting back on everything and almost every person is feeling it. Everyone is saying we need to budget – and then the Tory MP came out with his thoughts on the matter, but I wanted to find out my own answer.”

To cut back, Harker cut out meat and dairy, and instead stocked up on carbs and free sauces from fast food chains.

“What I’ve been doing is not a healthy diet but I’m trying to show people that you can survive on that budget,” Harker explains.

“Everyone is struggling to get out of this difficult financial situation but if you are on a budget of feeding your family for £5 a week – there are ways you can eat. But luckily for me my Dad was a chef and I am not in a vulnerable position.

“No one in the UK or Western World should live like this. This experience has made me feel really grateful and appreciate what I’ve got and it has taught me a lot of lessons I’ll be implementing into my life moving forward.”

Harker says a normal day eating-wise for him would consist of a full English breakfast, a packet of biscuits with tea or coffee, a burger for lunch and dinner from a fast food chain, like McDonalds or KFC.

However, the week he spent eating for £1 per day, he ate porridge sachets, cups of tea, rice and curry sauce, spaghetti bolognese, and jacket potatoes.

“I bought the porridge sachets because I knew I was only doing this for five days but if I was doing it for longer I would have bought a full bag of oats which would have lasted much longer,” he says.

“The cup of tea was 29p from ASDA for 40 tea bags, I used the milk which I got from Maccies [sic] for free. I took the hit on buying dairy and meat and went to drive-throughs where I asked them for salt, pepper, sweet curry sauce, sweet chilli sauce.

“I tried to find the cheapest options possible – everything I bought didn’t look like a meal, the nutritional value was not great but it’s what you do with it that matters. I also got a free burger from Burger King who were giving them out this week, and took it home, diced it up and used the ingredients to make a spag bol.”

Harker says Asda and Morrisons were the best supermarkets for budget buys.

“Asda is great for budget line sauces, Morrisons do eggs for 50p and you can check out bargains online and on O2 priorities particularly,” he says.

“If you bulk cook real dishes like soups, casseroles, curries – over long periods of time that is the best option financially.”

In the end, Harker found that £5 for five days worth of food “does not stretch far at all”.

“I cut back on everything I really liked this week and went into complete survival mode – no one should have to live like that,” he adds.

“The results from this experiment show this issue is bigger than just food. It is more about the debate on society – we need to make sure the most vulnerable people who have the least amount of income are supported.

“If you have extra money you should donate to food banks, it makes such a difference and stay away from the discounted isles because you could be taking food away from someone who needs it more.”

Additional reporting by SWNS

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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