Monday, February 27, 2017

How much does a nutritious diet cost?

Jeremy Cherfas, host of Eat This Podcast, led this lively conversation about the cost of a nutritious diet:
Recently I’ve been involved in a couple of online discussions about the cost of a nutritious diet. The crucial issue is why poor people in rich countries seem to have such unhealthy diets. One argument is about the cost of food. Another is about everything other than cost: knowledge, equipment, time, conditions.
My own opinion is that given all those other things, the externalities, a nutritious diet is actually not that expensive. But that’s just an opinion, so I went looking for information, and found it in a paper entitled Using the Thrifty Food Plan to Assess the Cost of a Nutritious Diet, published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs in 2009. The very first sentence of that paper is:
How much does a nutritious diet cost?
Parke Wilde, author of that paper, is an agricultural economist at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, and I really enjoyed talking to him for the podcast.


Anonymous said...

Heh, heh, heh, leave it to a Liberal Elite foodie, when one wants to know if a "healthy" or "nutritious" diet is more or less expensive than an ordinary (ie. implied "unhealthy" and "non-nutritious") diet, that one would know precisely where to look -- in a pop science editorial, of course!

Well now, the rest of us, the 'deplorables', usually just pay attention when grocery shopping to get a sense of the relative value of things. I highly recommend it.

And, it's my consistent experience that foods being hawked as "healthy" or "nutritious", and so forth, are, indeed more expensive. A lot more expensive than fundamentally comparable nutrition derived from ordinary abundant safe affordable foods.

But the point is moot really, isn't it? I mean when an Ivory Tower elite dines out or orders in a food kit to prepare at home "from scratch" the price is of consequence only to the extent it imparts a tone of conspicuous consumption and value signaling. So, thank goodness for those price disparities!

Parke Wilde said...

Thanks for your comment, Anonymous. I appreciate your observation that foods marketed as "healthy" tend to be expensive, while one can find better prices for "fundamentally comparable nutrition derived from ordinary abundant safe affordable foods."