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Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Posted
14 AUGUST 2023
6 min read
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The UK's top cities to eat healthy

Taking those first steps towards a healthy lifestyle is never easy, but it’s something that everyone should set out to do. Depending on where you’re located in the UK, the accessibility to healthy food and its cost can create hurdles on your journey to health. That’s why we wanted to uncover the top locations for healthy eating.

We’ve taken the 50 most-populated locations in the UK and used a variety of metrics to determine our ranking. We compared the number of healthy restaurants and takeaway options, the cost of certain fruit and vegetables, and the number of Google searches related to healthy eating.

​London crowned the best city for eating healthy 

In addition to being the capital, ​London has now been revealed as the capital of healthy eating, and the city’s dwellers are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to healthy dining options. Our research found that ​London offers a selection of ​379 healthy restaurants, which came as no surprise when considering the volume of demand for healthy food.

​Birmingham ranks in ​​second place, thanks to the high online interest in healthy eating (​​1,360 monthly searches) and the ​fifth-highest number of healthy restaurants (​​202). Although it is renowned for its curry house selections, there are plenty of healthy options and restaurants to choose from to give your immune system the boost it needs. ​​The city’s council is even taking a further step to support its residents, by partnering with restaurants, workplaces, and shops to provide easier and affordable access to healthy eating.

Hailing in third place is ​Leicester, which boasts affordable fruit and vegetable prices, with its famous food markets, like Leicester Market, serving locals for an impressive ​800 years. Today, residents can enjoy their five-a-day at budget-friendly rates, with apples priced at just ​​£1.26 per 1kg (the cheapest out of all cities). 

Rank City
1 London
2 Birmingham
3 Leicester
4 Dudley
5 Warrington
= Gloucester
6 Southend-on-Sea
7 Stroke-on-Trent
8 Crawley
9 Swansea
10 Southampton
= Manchaster
11 Slough
12 York
13 Edinburgh
14 Bournemouth
15 Glasgow

The cities with the biggest interest in healthy eating 

When it comes to residents looking for ‘healthy food’ and ‘healthy recipes’ online, ​London has the highest search volume, with an average of ​12,500 searches a month. This is ​819% higher than in​Birmingham, the city with the ​second-highest number of Google searches (​​1,360). ​Manchester ranks in ​third place with an average of ​​1,270 monthly searches relating to healthy eating and following closely behind are ​​Edinburgh and ​Leeds, where residents search these terms ​800 times per month, on average.

​​London and ​​Luton lead the way for healthy restaurants 

After ​London, ​Luton has the ​second-highest selection of healthy restaurants at ​268. ​​Luton​ is another city where the city council has created an initiative to encourage healthier eating and provide support and guidance to the community.

Slough and ​​Crawly take third and fourth place, with ​229 and ​221 healthy restaurants, respectively. While these cities may not typically be known for being idyllic destinations, if you’re on the hunt for a selection of healthy restaurants, these unlikely towns aren’t out for the count. ​Birmingham (​202) rounds out the top five. 

The locations with the most affordable fresh produce

The best locations to eat healthy tend to offer fruit and vegetables at the smallest prices. The lowest cost for lettuce can be found in​York at ​£0.52 per head, whereas the lowest cost for 1kg of apples can be found in ​​Leicester, at ​£1.26. These prices stand in stark contrast to the national average, which sits at ​£0.72 for lettuce and ​£2.07 for apples.

The places with the least healthy food options  

Rank City
1 Cambridge
2 Bradford
3 Northampton
4 Portsmouth
5 Wolverhampton

When it comes to restaurants that class themselves as healthy, there appear to be very few in ​​Cambridge, where we only discovered ​30. This contributed to the academic city coming in ​last place for having healthy food options, out of the cities analysed. Fast food might just be the fuel that students opt for to get through their last-minute study sessions, but it's important they still prioritise healthy eating where possible.

Our research also revealed that many of the towns and cities that rank lowest have some of the highest prices for fruit and vegetables. For example, ​Bradford, ranking in second place, is home to the highest cost for a head of lettuce, coming to ​£1.07 and the ​​second-highest cost for bananas (​​£1.61 per 1 kg). If you live in an area where fresh produce isn’t as affordable, opting for seasonal fruit and vegetable can help keep costs down. 

​Northampton follows in third place, with a population that doesn’t seem particularly interested in ‘healthy food’ or ‘healthy recipes’ at just (​​140) monthly searches. The number of healthy restaurants is also on the lower end, with a choice of just ​​35 establishments. 

The importance of leading a healthy lifestyle

 

No matter where you live, it’s important to prioritise your health. A healthy lifestyle is not only going to be good for your health in the long run, it may also have a positive effect on the cost of your life insurance premiums. When insurers assess the risk involved in offering you a policy, there are a lot of factors that come into play, and having a healthy lifestyle can help drive those premium prices down. And while it’s important to maintain a well-balanced diet, healthy lifestyle choices also include regular exercise, not smoking and avoiding excessive drinking. 

Sources and methodology 

To determine the best places to eat healthy in, Compare the Market researched a variety of metrics across the 50 most populated towns and cities in the UK, to create an overall score based on the indexed rankings across each metric:  

Anna McEntee - Insurance comparison expert

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