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A survey has found more than half of Kiwis are turning to takeaways because of cost but a nutritionist says families can still prepare healthy meals that are affordable., an online and mobile ordering service for takeaway food, revealed 53 per cent of 435 New Zealanders over the age of 18 across all regions admitted “ordering in because it was more affordable than cooking a meal from scratch”.
Menulog spokesperson Julia Snabl said there was a growing demand for takeaways as consumers “are very conscious of their household budgets and the expense of cooking home meals”.
“In New Zealand, everyday staples such as milk and butter have been steadily increasing in price, which increases the expense of even simple home-cooked meals.”
Respondents in the survey said one in three would not pay more than $15 per person and 39 per cent would not pay more than $20 per person for a takeaway meal, she said.
However, Healthy Food Guide nutritionist Claire Turnbull said, while “some foods may have increased in price, you can still make a healthy, balanced meal at an affordable price using seasonal produce, frozen veges and making better use of pulses”.
Alternative options, such as takeaways, were becoming normalised and often people lacked the skill to put basic meals together, she said.
She agreed that convenience also played a factor as people led busy lives.
She recommended people planned ahead and said the Healthy Food Guide’s 5pm Panic recipes, which could be prepared in about 15 minutes, were extremely popular.
The Healthy Food Guide had also created simple nutritional recipes that averaged from $3 to $5 per person.
“Some people feel they don’t have enough ideas, or variety or recipes up their sleeves … they need to identify 10 recipes they like and put them in a folder so they can become their staple 10 recipes.”
Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Diane Bruin said she did not believe the cost of food had “gone up astronomically and if you shop wisely you can still afford to feed your family”.
It had not increased its allowance for food in the past 12 months and allocated about $200 per week for an average family of four while swapping out meat on some meals would cut down expenses, she said.
“I think it is more about planning as takeaways have become convenient.”

Menulog Survey:
More than half of NZers have ordered takeaways to save money on cooking
More than half spend up to $50 a week on takeaways
Almost a quarter of 45-54-year-olds spend $50 to $100 a week on takeaways
435 New Zealanders surveyed across all regions – source