New research released today (Tuesday, January 31) from Red Tractor and YouGov has revealed that families with young children are most impacted when it comes to the weekly food shop as the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit pockets.

Red Tractor, the food chain assurance company, explained that the parents of young children (aged 11 years and under) are having to make the biggest changes when shopping for food, particularly when it comes to meat and vegetables.

Its research, in partnership with data analytics firm YouGov, showed that 27% of parents are buying less meat and 18% are buying less fruit and vegetables.

39% of parents have replaced meat with carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta, in an attempt to keep their children full on a tighter budget, the research showed.

On top of this, 33% of families with young children are buying what they consider to be lower quality food as they look for cheaper options, compared to just 20% of households without children.

This comes despite parents’ concerns that less-expensive products may have been produced to a lower quality (55%), have a greater negative impact on the environment (36%) and are less safe (19%).

Meanwhile, according to the Red Tractor and YouGov research, 42% of parents with young children believe the quality of food they can afford will decline further over the next 12 months.

Jim Moseley, Red Tractor chief executive, said the research “lays bare” the food choices that parents are now being forced to make during the cost-of-living crisis.

“We are making it clear to consumers that families should never have to make a choice between quality, safety and value when it comes to their child’s nutrition.

“That’s why assurance marques are so vital, so when parents see the Red Tractor logo they know that whatever the price point it’s safe, traceable, and farmed with care.”

Lindsay Boswell, the chief executive of food redistribution charity FareShare, said: “This report’s findings sadly tally with the stark findings from a survey we carried out last September with the 9,500 charities and community groups we provide with food and drink.

“73% of the groups said that the increase in demand for their services is from people needing help for the first time. The majority of charities (60%) report an increase in families with children accessing their vital support.”