A recent study, undertaken by the Centre for Diet and Activity Researches at the University of Cambridge, indicates that to eat healthy foods one needs to be wealthy. The price difference between healthy and unhealthy foods has widened considerably.
The researchers stated that foods which have been designated as healthy by the Government, now costs an average of three times more than the less healthy alternatives. They tracked prices of 94 key drink and food items for the period between 2002 and 2012.
It was found that healthier foods, such as fruit and vegetables, were more expensive than products high in sugar and fat, such as frozen pizza.
In 2002, 1000kcal of healthy food carried a price of around £5.65, while those buying less healthy foods would have had to spend around £1.77 for the same level of calories. These figures had changed completely by 2012 when it became £7.49 and £2.50 respectively.
As a percentage, the less healthy products increased dramatically in price. Overall, the healthy foods increased by £1.84 per 1000kcal over the 10-year period, compared to a mere £0.73 for the unhealthy options.
The researchers wrote that this shift in prices may make the less healthy products less affordable as time goes by, and this could have implications for the health of the population and individual food security.
They referred to the fact that diet-related ill health cost the NHS about £5.8bn per year and urged the Government to consider ‘routine food price monitoring’, which would allow them to act if healthy foods reached a level where it was no longer affordable for low income earners.
So, how much has the cost of 1000kcal of healthy food increased over the decade?
Tomatoes: 2002 = £9.53 2012 = £13.31 39.7%
Whole cabbage: 2002 = £3.02 2012 = £3.69 22.2%
Tinned Tuna: 2002 = £3.22 2012 = £5.54 72%
Ice cream: 2002 = £1.50 2012 = £1.57 4.7%
Doughnut: 2002 = £0.96 2012 = £0.98 2.1%
Frozen pizza: 2002 = £2.10 2012 = £1.58 -24.8%
Image Credit: Ginny