New study from researchers at IFPRI looks at the relative caloric prices (RCPs) for different food categories across 176 countries and how they relate to dietary indicators and nutrition outcomes. Overall, the authors found that most non cereal foods were relatively cheap in high income countries, including high sugar and high fat foods. In lower income countries, healthy foods were generally expensive, especially most animal sourced foods and fortified infant cereals. This study shows that the affordability of both healthy and unhealthy foods varies markedly across regions and levels of development, and that these variations in relative prices are strongly associated with nutrition outcomes. Given these findings, the authors call for future research to focus on how to alter relative prices to achieve better dietary and nutrition outcomes.
Because price is determined by a complex mix of supply and demand side factors - including policies, taxes and incentives, as well consumer behaviour and demand - fostering dialogue, collaboration and action between public and private sectors is an important way to facilitate the consumption of safe and nutritious foods by making them more available and affordable.
For more information, check out:
- Blog from the authors: The high price of healthy food … and the low price of unhealthy food
- Devex article: High cost of healthy food linked to stunting, new study finds
- Food archive blog: How much does it cost to eat a decent meal?