Woolworths shows how healthier eating can be budget-friendly with more than 60 free recipe ideas for under $5 per serve

Key points:

  • Woolworths research* shows that the percentage of people who say they eat really healthy or eat healthy the majority of the time has dropped by 7%, from 65% to 58% last year.

  • Health is still a priority for many people, with 69% stating that they have taken steps to eat healthier in the past year.

  • Woolworths has collated more than 60 healthier and budget-friendly recipes to help customers eat healthier, more affordable meals and snacks, and is launching free healthier and budget-friendly meal plans that include dinner, breakfast and lunchbox ideas via its online Meal Planner tool.

6 February 2024: Healthy eating is taking a backseat for some people according to research from Woolworths*, which shows that the percentage of people who say they eat really healthy or eat healthy the majority of the time has dropped by 7%, from 65% to 58% last year.

Lack of time and a perception that eating healthier food is expensive, are the top two claimed reasons people don’t eat a healthier diet, according to the research. Despite these perceptions, 69% stated that they have taken steps to eat healthier in the past year, such as eating more fruit and vegetables, cooking more healthy meals at home and cutting down on confectionery. 

In response to this, Woolworths has collated more than 60 recipes that are both healthier and budget-friendly, coming to less than $5 per serve, to help customers start the year on a healthy note.

Available on the supermarket’s Healthier Inspiration hub, the recipes include ideas such as Healthier Cheat’s Pork Ragu, Chicken Fattoush or Air-fryer Taquitos.

To make it even easier for customers to plan, until the end of summer, Woolworths has created a range of pre-populated healthier meal plans with its new online Meal Planner tool that pulls together a selection of the healthier and affordable recipes to take the fuss out of meal planning. 

Each week, a new set of recipes will go live based on a theme of either dinner, breakfast and lunchbox ideas that customers can then tailor and easily add all the ingredients to their online shopping cart. Customers can find the Meal Planner through the Woolworths recipes page.

Woolworths is focused on making healthier food more affordable, and includes healthier food options, with a Health Star Rating (HSR) of 3.5 and above, in its seasonal Prices Dropped programs, and Low Price program.

In its latest Prices Dropped for Summer program, more than 38% of products have a HSR of 3.5 and above. This includes prices drops on a range of Woolworths salad kits and fresh produce such as:

  • Woolworths Baby Leaf Mix with Carrot (was $5, now $4)

  • Corn Cobbettes 425g pack (was $5.50, now $3.75)

  •  Mix A Mato Mini Tomatoes 320g (was $5.90, now $3.75)

  •  Woolworths RSPCA Approved Chicken Tenderloins (was $10, now $9) 

  • Macro Free Range Chicken Breast Steaks Sweet Chipotle 500g (was $12.00, now $10.50).

Woolworths’ The Odd Bunch is another way the supermarket is making healthier foods more affordable, with the range at least 20% cheaper than comparable fruit and veg products.

Woolworths General Manager of Health & Nutrition Stevie Wring said: “We know that healthy eating is important to our customers, however, people are also trying to balance a budget and find the time to plan their meals.

“The good news is there are still affordable ways to enjoy healthy foods and we’re always looking at how to make it easier for our customers to eat healthier.”

“These recipes are a great way to start, and the meal planner is a helpful tool to give people inspiration on what a healthier menu could look like.”

To further support customers, Stevie Wring and Woolworths’ team of nutrition experts recommend the following tips to eat healthier on a budget:

  • Batch cooking recipes: Batch cooking is not new, but we know that time and convenience can be barriers to healthy eating. By preparing healthy meals at the start of the week that you can also freeze and eat later, you can eat healthier, as well as save money and time.

  • Take advantage of deflation on fruit and vegetables: Many fresh fruits and vegetables continue to be lower in price than the same time last year, so it’s a great time to enjoy fresh produce. Another option to consider is frozen or tinned vegetables, as these are a great and convenient way to add veggies to your meals, and great value. 

  • Start with small changes and healthier food swaps: For some people changing the entire family menu may not be feasible, so another way to start is with small changes. Like adding legumes to your meals to help bulk them out, or opting for brown rice instead of white rice to increase fibre intake.

  • Use online tools: To help our customers find healthier and budget-friendly options we have a number of tools on our website. This includes our product filters so you can search by Health Star Rating and  Best Unit Price on products. We also have Healthier Options which shows customers’ similar products with a higher Health Star Rating when they are shopping online or on our app.

Woolworths has been working to make healthier easier for a number of years. 

Woolworths has a strong focus on making its own brand products healthier by continually reducing salt, sugar and saturated fat, and adding more vegetables and whole grains. This has earned the supermarket the title of Australia’s healthiest own brands for the fifth year in a row according to the George Institute^. Many of Woolworths’ own brand products are also part of the supermarket’s Low Price program, and provide great quality and value for customers. 

Food Tracker by Healthylife is another free tool available on the Woolworths and Everyday Rewards apps, that provides personalised basket insights to help customers make healthier choices.

Additional Woolworths research findings:

  • 58% of people said they eat really healthy or eat healthy the majority of the time, down from 65% last year

  • In the year ahead, people’s top priorities for healthy eating include:

    • 31% said they plan to eat more vegetables or fruits (including fresh, frozen and canned)

    • 28% said they will avoid artificial colours, flavours and preservatives in food and beverages

    • 19% said they’ll reduce added sugar intake (from food and beverages)

    • 19% said they’ll cut down on confectionery like chocolate bars and lollies

    • 18% said they’ll choose smaller portion sizes

    • 18% said they’ll cook more healthy meals at home

  • The main reasons people don’t eat healthy relate to price, motivation, convenience and taste. The top reasons in order:

    • 38% said healthy foods are expensive

    • 26% said they didn’t have enough time to eat healthily

    • 25% said they lacked motivation to cook

    • 24% said they need to stick to a tight budget to feed the family

    • 24% said it was difficult to change bad daily eating habits

    • 21% said it was more convenient to eat out/have takeaway

    • 21% said they couldn’t resist less healthy food options because they taste too good


*The annual Woolworths Food & Health Survey monitors changes in consumers’ food and health perceptions and behaviours. The research was conducted by Ipsos in June 2023, and involved a sample of 2,000 Australians. This is the 7th year of the report.

^According to The George Institute for Global Health's FoodSwitch: State of the Food Supply report (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023). Ranking based on mean Health Star Rating compared with Coles, Aldi and IGA.

For further information, contact Woolworths Media: 02 8885 1033 or media@woolworths.com.au