Let them eat chicken ’n’ chips? Poor food and hunger in 21st-century Britain

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Phil Hearse on the time-poor and cash-poor; Dr Karen Postle on cheap chicken; Prof Trevor Hartley on capitalism and asparagus aspirations; Prof Julia Brannen and others on food and social status; Ibrahim Dogus on healthy takeaways; Sue Doggett and Gayle Letherby on children going hungry

I recently spent a morning at Bury market, world centre of black pudding and just down the road from Blackburn, which you report has the highest concentration of fast food outlets in Britain. A casual glance round the market reveals why one of its most prominent shops is an outsize menswear store. Obesity is evidently a local epidemic.

Patrick Butler’s article (Rapid growth in fast food outlets heightens obesity fears, 25 July) focuses on attempts by local authorities to limit the number of fast food outlets, but also makes the most obvious point – that fast food is cheap, convenient and most often a staple of poor people’s diet.

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