Eating healthy is not expensive


Nearly 70 per cent, or two-thirds of British households, said they find healthy food and drinks more expensive when compared to other products. If your motivation for tucking into a ready meal or frozen pizza is that you'd prefer not to splurge 

on fresh fruit and veg, then you might want to rethink your dietary habits. Data published by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) shows healthier foods bought in super markets tend to have a smaller price tag than their unhealthier counterparts, dealing a blow to the argument that poor diets and obesity are directly caused by economic deprivation.

The data compiles prices offered by Asda and Tesco on 78 common food and drink products and finds that healthier options are generally cheaper than less healthy alternatives. When measured by edible weight, a wide range of fruit and vegetable are available for less than £2.00 per kilogramme. By contrast, the cheapest ready meals, chocolate, crisps and bacon cost more than £3 per kilogramme, the study found.

The IEA said the £1 cost of a cheeseburger could also buy a kilo of sweet potatoes, two kilos of carrots, or 10 apples, claiming that the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day could cost as little as 30p.

A diet of muesli, rice, white meat, fruit and vegetables is much cheaper than a diet of Coco Pops, ready meals, red meat, sugary drinks and fast food. The idea that poor nutrition is caused by the high cost of healthy food is simply wrong.

Nearly 70 per cent, or two-thirds of British households, said they find healthy food and drinks more expensive when compared to other products, according to a survey released earlier this year.

The same survey found that a staggering 40 per cent of 18 to 34 years olds said they can't afford to purchase healthy products because of their price.

So why do we find healthy food so expensive? Maybe because we expect it to be! Studies show that consumers tend to associate higher costs with healthier foods, regardless of evidence. Imagine you're in the aisle of your favourite grocery store, bombarded with hundreds of the latest and greatest products on the market. After grabbing a box of your favourite pasta off the shelf, you notice a new organic version of the spaghetti sauce you usually buy. Strikingly, the price is at almost a 50 % more when compared with what your usual sauce costs.

Here we go again, you think: You have to empty your wallet to buy the healthy stuff. This belief is so pervasive that tips on how to eat healthy on a budget are everywhere, implying that most consumers think this is a truly difficult task. Measuring the relationship between health and price of food is difficult, as it can be evaluated in a variety of ways, from price per calorie to price per average portion.

But in essence it comes down to being label savvy, and comparing brands, in many cases the supermarket own brands are cheaper and actually better for you then the more expensive branded products. No matter, what the claims on the box.

Look at the comparisons for tinned tomatoes below for example

Look at the value labels in supermarkets, you are going to peel and chop most of the vegetables you buy and does it really matter if your apple isn't perfectly round!

Don't allow labels to dictate what you buy. Just because it costs more doesn't mean it's better for you or is healthier!

BlogClaire Edwards