Linda Robson on the 5-a-Day Crisis facing Wales’ elderly


EIGHTY per cent of people aged over 60 in Britain – and 89% in Wales – say they are not getting their recommended five portions of fruit and veg every day.

A fifth (20%) of people aged over 60 in Wales said they did not eat as much fresh fruit and veg as they could because they lived alone and the produce went off before they could eat it, with another 25% not being confident enough in their cooking ability to use certain produce.

More than one in five (21%) said fresh fruit and veg was simply too expensive, with a quarter (24%) admitting they eat frozen meals at least twice a week, according to a survey for the cooking enthusiast and home appliance manufacturer brand NEFF by Atomik Research.

To combat this, NEFF has launched two community kitchens in Britain, with the aim of bringing communities and ages together. The kitchens will see old and young take part in cookery courses to brush up on their skills and to ensure they are confident cooking a range of fresh produce and not be reliant on frozen meals.

Loose Women and Birds of a Feather star Linda Robson, 60, said: “This survey shows that the elderly in Britain are the forgotten generation when it comes to spreading the word about eating five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day.

“It is just as important for the over-60s to eat healthily as it is for any other generation.

“We can all play our part in helping our older relatives and neighbours stay healthy by visiting them every now and again and making sure they are eating well – and maybe even cooking with them.”

People aged 71-75 in Wales were least likely (71%) to go without their five-a-day on a daily basis.

Londoners aged over 60 said they were most likely (59%) to eat their daily allowance compared to the majority (91%) of those in the West Midlands.

Nearly eight in ten (78%) of those surveyed said they enjoyed cooking, with three in five (59%) of those saying they like to know what they are eating and nearly two-thirds (61%) saying they enjoy cooking for others.

Half (52%) of those surveyed said they loved cooking with their family and 34% said they wished they could do it more, with 45% saying they enjoyed passing family recipes down through the generations.

Just over half (53%) said they had a repertoire of more than 10 recipes to draw on when cooking for their family and a quarter (23%) said they knew more than 20.

And a third (30%) of over-60s said they liked passing on tips about recipes and family favourites – but only seven per cent said their advice was always heeded! However, 15% say they cannot see the point in cooking as they live alone.

NEFF’s community kitchens have been launched with the environmental charity Hubbub and B&Q, with the first two opening in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and Haverhill, Suffolk, and two more set to open next year in Yorkshire and London.

Linda added: “It is a tragedy that some older people don’t cook because they live alone and don’t see the point.

“We need to re-heat older people’s love of cooking and bring the joy back into their kitchens.

“We can do this by creating meals together across the generations – which means old and young can eat healthily.”