Young reporter speaks out about rising food prices for those with serious conditions

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Lydia Alty, who is 18 years old, is a passionate campaigner for many different topics. Recently the youngster has spoken about the high price of Free From Food.

In a recent post on her social media, she supported Coeliac UK's wish list ahead of the Christmas period. She posted on social media platform Instagram, to her 11,200 followers, saying how she would like food lowered for those with allergies and intolerances. She also mentioned how she would like more variety for those with conditions.

Lydia Alty is not only well known for her campaigning. The teen is well known also for her Royal Reporter Lydia social media platforms which currently boasts over 60,000 followers on Instagram on @royalreporterlydia and on YouTube it has over 130,000 subscribers and over 50 million views.

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She reports on the latest news on the British Royal Family and talks about the history and recent engagements.

Lydia AltyLydia Alty
Lydia Alty

Lydia was a pupil at The Chalfonts Community College until July 2023 when she completed her full time education at the schools Sixth Form, she now is due to enrol with The Open University to study science alongside this she now works and does projects too. She was previously enrolled in Royal Holloway but left on grounds that have not been made public.

Lydia has spent the majority of the year campaigning for the Free From Section in supermarkets to be lowered. She reportedly even wrote a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, on how she wanted the food price lowered.

She told us: ' I wanted the food prices lowered not because I want cheap food, but because many people are feeling like they are being punished for having these conditions. Bread, milk and cereal has been some of the products that have been listed as being some of the most expensive part of my shop, when for normal bread, that doesn't have the restrictions of the allergens, they are usually range from £2-£3 in price, so why does Bread without allergens have to be so expensive?

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"That's why I started campaigning, because I believe it's unfair that we get overcharged just for the label of "free from" being stuck on it. I feel like all food should be accessible and people shouldn't be unfairly charged for simple necessities that stop them getting seriously ill.

Lydia says she worries people will go without important foods that provide fibre and a balanced diet, if food is not made affordable for those on low incomes.

The youngster has also set up a petition too which currently has over 1,000 signatures for lowering prices of food. Lydia says she must do more to help lower the prices and make them more affordable for those with very little.

Lydia added: "This Christmas is set to be expensive for many families, and people are using food banks more than ever this year. Some are even relying on Baby banks for clothing and toys for their Children's Presents, and many can't afford simple foods.

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"This is worrying especially as not enough allergen free food is actually accessible neither is some of it in affordable ranges so people aren't buying and putting in food banks, neither can people purchase them themselves. This means people are further not being able to access the food which for some people is life of death situations.

"I think it's vital big supermarket chains take the action and add necessities for gluten, milk and nut free and make the prices lower, it's simply unfair that people have to spend majority of their paycheck on necessitates for themselves".

This hits home to Lydia as she herself was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, autoimmune condition that means your body attacks healthy cells and tissue when you eat products containing gluten, just weeks after she completed her GCSES in 2021. She has had the disease since October 2021, after she spent the whole summer avoiding going out due to feeling chronically sick, having stomach aches and feeling tired.

"She apparently said "she felt awful " and wasn't aware of the illness until her doctor told her what it was, she apparently also learnt a lot from Coeliac UK's website, as well as the NHS' website. She stated she is still recovering, as diseases like this can go in-noticed for years. She also uses her experience to spread awareness on this life changing condition. Lydia hopes she can use her experience to lower food prices, and spread awareness of the disease which took a toll on not only her physical health, but also her mental health too.

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Lydia hopes this Christmas people can take the time to spread awareness of those with the disease and think of those who sadly don't have a lot. She said " I hope this Christmas, people actually take some time to think of others and think how people are struggling this Christmas. I hope that into the new year, free from food isn't as expensive, so that those on low incomes can afford it without giving up other things. Everyone deserves to eat and it's important People do eat, it's vital for your mental and physical health.

"Although I am aware there is a cost of living crisis and lots of food is going up, I feel free from food has been hit the hardest as, without the price rises, it is still extremely high and whenever I go and buy free from stuff the bill goes up, which is completely unacceptable.

"I didn't choose, and no one chooses, to have a chronic condition, so no Supermarket or company should be making their food expensive just because it's free from. Majority of people eating Free From Food have to eat it on health grounds rather than by choice".