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Is healthy nutrition expensive?



To lead an active and healthy lifestyle, different types of food and nutrients are necessary. Consumers have high demands on the ingredients of their products and want them to offer added value.

Producers use this high demand to define prices in their favour. Is it still possible to eat a balanced diet at a reasonable price?


Scientific studies have determined the minimum cost of food that meets daily nutritional and energy needs. In high-income countries, the financial burden is only 3% of household income. In low-income countries, on the other hand, it is 36%.


The following foods have an excellent cost-nutrient ratio:

  • Milk

  • Eggs

  • Beans, seeds, nuts

  • Fruit and vegetables

  • Bread and muesli


The following foods are expensive compared to their nutritional profile:

  • Processed foods

  • Crackers and salty snacks

  • Cakes, biscuits and pies

  • Beef

  • Processed meat

  • Cheese

  • Dairy dessert



Sources:

The Nutrient Rich Foods Index helps to identify healthy, affordable foods

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 91, Issue 4, April 2010, Pages 1095S-1101S


Bai, Yan, et al. "Cost and affordability of nutritious diets at retail prices: Evidence from 177 countries." Food policy 99 (2021): 101983.

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