Healthy Food Is Expensive

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Healthy Food Is Expensive

Healthy Food Is Expensive


Comparing prices between healthy foods can be difficult for average consumers. It's like comparing apples and oranges. Well, not really. It's more like trying to compare salad fixings and frozen pizza. It doesn't, however, take a math whiz to feel the pain at the check out when the grocery cart is packed with healthy foods. Most shoppers, especially those on tight budgets, intuitively understand that eating well comes at a high price. Put a container of fresh blueberries in the cart and feel the pain. Then add a fresh pineapple.


The bottom line in this study was that high calorie foods jingle in at a cost of $3.52 per person per day compared to $36.32 for low calorie selections. Most consumers do a bit of balancing and plunk down $7 per day for food for each person. Even more troubling is that the gap is widening with healthier food selections going up 19.5% and high calorie items dropping by 1.8% over the two year time period of the study. That bag of potatoes has gone up 6.1% according to the USDA. Potato chips remain pretty stable in terms of pricing with frequent sales but not usually for the specialty chips like the baked chips (lower in fat and calories).

The reason that healthy foods are so expensive is simple economics. Even though recent trends have pointed to an increased demand of healthy, natural and healthy food, supply is still very low and the cost to produce them is very high. One important factor that makes food healthy is freshness. Fruits and vegetables can only grow in specific climates of the world and only at certain times of the year. Usually this climate area is far from your house, and even though it is only grown for a few months out of the year, is demanded all the time. We want to eat kiwis and strawberries all year round, right? To make this a reality, companies need to store the food in giant air conditioned warehouses and ship the food across the world to meet local demand. As you can imagine, this is a very expensive process and the cost is passed onto the consumer.

kiwiOn the other hand, unhealthy foods are grown (or raised) in huge quantities. For example corn that is used to make high fructose corn syrup (the ingredient that adds sugar to everything including candy, fruit juice and soda) is grown all around the world and is heavily subsidized in this country. Manufacturers have a cheap supply of sugar that they use to make all sorts of unhealthy foods. Until the demand of healthy food rises above the demand for unhealthy foods, the supply won't expand and the prices won't come down. Fortunately, with the country starting to notice that buying expensive food now can prevent expensive hospital bills later, the mood is changing. According to the USDA: "Among the 69 forms of fruits and 85 forms of vegetables included ...
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