STRUGGLING families are cutting back on their food bill due to the financial crisis, according to government statistics.

Popular items such as meat and fish are being dropped in favour of cheaper alternatives like pasta, rice and cheap meats.

Spending on food per person fell in three consecutive months, with September witnessing a 2.3% fall and a decrease of 1.8% in October.

Wine sales dropped 9.4% and olive oil sales fell by 15.7%, according to a survey of 12,000 homes conducted between November 2011 and October 2012 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment.

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