The old saw that eating healthy food costs more than eating processed or fast food has been officially debunked.
If you don’t believe the hype, the proof is in the chia pudding according to this recent study from the U.K’s Institute of Economic Affairs. Christopher Snowdon’s March 2017 paper titled “Cheap As Chips: Is A Healthy Diet Affordable?” found that nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables and grains can be purchased at a cost of less than $3.29 per kilogram. In comparison, using prices based on two leading British supermarket chains in November 2016, less healthy products (frozen dinners, chocolate bars, potato chips and bacon) cost more than $4.93 per kilogram.
Most of us believe that healthy eating is relatively expensive and that ‘junk food’ is relatively cheap. This has led to the assumption that poor diets and obesity are a direct result of economic deprivation. The notion that there is a forced marriage between poor eating habits and low income is simply not true.
“The reason I think people are not eating as much fruit and veg as they should has little to do with prices,” he said. “It’s down to not having the right cooking skills, and not having the time.”
Sadly, when it comes to meat, poultry and seafood, the same rules do not apply. White meat, fattier cuts and processed meat showed to be less costly than red meat, lean cuts and fresh fillets. A visit to any market in Canada would likely present the same findings.
Snowden believes that our unhealthy diets are the result of us shopping with our taste buds instead of our wallets. Which means that the question isn’t really “Is a healthy diet affordable?” but “Can I afford not to eat healthily?”