Message Boards » Food and Nutrition

TOPIC: Why is healthy food more expensive?

« Prev 1 3 4
« Prev 1 3 4
 
Ic_disabled_photos
Topic has been inactive for 30 days or more and images have been disabled.
Display All Images
January 12, 2013 11:26 AM
This might be a silly question for you, but I'm going to ask anyway. Why is healthy food so expensive? My food intake has gone down 50% since I started eating healthy, but my food bill is the same because the healthy stuff is nearly twice as expensive as the fat stuff. I'm on a tight budget, and I was hoping to save plenty of $$$ on the food bill. Guess not....

In a country like America, where there is an obesity epidemic, the healthy food should be cheaper. This would lure people into eating healthy. Instead they jack up the price of healthy food, and drive people on tight budgets to fat food. No wonder 1/2 the country is obese. It makes me so angry!
January 12, 2013 11:31 AM
So, a few reasons. One, the market has been inflated for "organic" or "healthy" foods and therefore producers can get away with charging more because of that label(sort of why certain jean brands can charge more, even though they really aren't THAT much better than the cheaper alternative). Two, there are more subsidies going to non-organic farmers, factory farms produce more product, pay their workers less AND can charge less for their product. There are more I'm sure, that being said, you don't HAVE to spend THAT much more to eat healthy. You only have to avoid the labels. You don't have to buy ORGANIC veggies. You can eat lean meat without having to buy the grass fed, free range type. Many cities have farmers markets where you can get produce cheaper than a market. Rice/Beans are cheap.
January 12, 2013 11:37 AM
I find buying fruits and veggies frozen helps,buying things on sale , also copouns now have some healthy ones out there.
January 12, 2013 11:44 AM
I eat mostly whole foods...so I buy dry beans (bulk bags), rice (large bags), oat bran, eggs, chicken, tuna, frozen vegetables, milk, yogurt, cheese, avocado, romaine lettuce, red potatoes, apples, frozen blueberries or strawberries, peanut butter and raw almonds.

I can eat on about $5 a day, and I live in a northern part of the U.S. so everything fresh is flown in. Start tracking your nutrition - you'll be glad you changed.

Vegetables I buy organic, they taste so much better.

You are used to eating a lot more than you need. It works out once you cut back your portions and use nutritionally dense foods.

Edited by cmriverside On January 12, 2013 11:45 AM
  5978
January 12, 2013 11:48 AM
well one reason is that the government subsidizes certain things such as corn (very cheap to grow and makes a lot of profit). so corn starch for example, which is extremely unhealthy, is made extremely cheap and companies then use it in a lot of their products. :(
January 12, 2013 11:49 AM
QUOTE:

This might be a silly question for you, but I'm going to ask anyway. Why is healthy food so expensive? My food intake has gone down 50% since I started eating healthy, but my food bill is the same because the healthy stuff is nearly twice as expensive as the fat stuff. I'm on a tight budget, and I was hoping to save plenty of $$$ on the food bill. Guess not....

In a country like America, where there is an obesity epidemic, the healthy food should be cheaper. This would lure people into eating healthy. Instead they jack up the price of healthy food, and drive people on tight budgets to fat food. No wonder 1/2 the country is obese. It makes me so angry!


"health" food is cheaper by weight but more expensive by calorie density.

For example lets say a head of lettuce cost a dollar and you buy 4 of them. They weigh in between 1-2lbs each, that's a total of 6lbs of food. Take those 4 dollars to a fast food place you won't get that much 'weight" of food. You will get more calories for your money. WHen I am broke and i need calories i go to jack in the box dollar menu, 1,800 calories for 5 dollars.
  11390926
January 12, 2013 11:50 AM
The grocery store where I shop often has frozen chicken breasts and frozen tilapia filets on sale BOGO so I stock up then, and I try to stock up on frozen veggies when they are on sale also. Fresh produce will vary depending on what is in season locally. Try a farmer's market if there is one near you.
  10214346
January 12, 2013 11:50 AM
QUOTE:

I find buying fruits and veggies frozen helps,buying things on sale , also copouns now have some healthy ones out there.


I always buy seasonal, on sale and frozen. Also, bulk will help a ton with your dry staples, and making your own food (your own breads, pastas, anything you can make from scratch on your own that would otherwise be packaged) can also cut costs. I recently started grinding my own nut flours and baking my own whole grain bread and have cut nearly $20 out of my monthly grocery costs by doing this! It's also WAY lower in sodium, calories, and best of all, I KNOW what's in it because I put it there. Basically, if it comes in a box/package, put it back and take the time to make it yourself. Your waistline and wallet will thank you.
  32254273
January 12, 2013 11:53 AM
Don't buy "health food." Instead get chicken, fish, lean meat in smaller amounts. Buy rice, lentils, and frozen veg in larger amounts. Get fresh veg at markets instead of super markets and research how to keep them fresher longer by proper storage. Don't forget the spices- current favorites include cumin, oregano, bay leaf (not all at once). If you eat less prepared food, shop sales,and freeze those deals, the cost in actually less, in my experience.
January 12, 2013 11:53 AM
It makes me crazy! My daughter is a disabled adult. You should see what passes for a "healthy menu" in many group homes and day programs (profits before people.) When I retire I'm going to become more active in getting policies put in place that will get healthy food to people who are on limited or fixed incomes.
January 12, 2013 11:54 AM
After finding worms in my brussel sprouts, I say bring ONNNN the poison. I never buy organic, and I use the bag of frozen chicken breasts. It can be expensive if you let it, but there are definitely more economical choices if you think outside the box.
January 12, 2013 11:54 AM
QUOTE:

This might be a silly question for you, but I'm going to ask anyway. Why is healthy food so expensive? My food intake has gone down 50% since I started eating healthy, but my food bill is the same because the healthy stuff is nearly twice as expensive as the fat stuff. I'm on a tight budget, and I was hoping to save plenty of $$$ on the food bill. Guess not....

In a country like America, where there is an obesity epidemic, the healthy food should be cheaper. This would lure people into eating healthy. Instead they jack up the price of healthy food, and drive people on tight budgets to fat food. No wonder 1/2 the country is obese. It makes me so angry!


Depends what you were easting before and what you are eating now, your statement is sweeping and does not apply to all diets by any stretch. There are plenty of reasonably priced healthy foods - dried beans and lentils, plain oats, brown rice, frozen vegetables, fresh root vegetables, dried fruit, canned oily fish, organ meats like liver, frozen raw meats for example.

Much more expensive is eating produce that is not in season, fresh fruits, any soft produce that doesn't have a long shelf life and is loved by insects or fungus, these are expensive to grow, transport and sell due to wastage at every stage. Here in the UK some of the cheapest fruits and veggies are: whole red cabbage, red onions, fresh carrots, frozen green beans, frozen broccoli, frozen sweetcorn, canned tomatoes, mixed dried fruit (sultanas/ raisins), frozen rhubarb, fresh whole pineapple. The nice thing is these are long life so even living alone I can get through a bulk purchase with little waste and there is the full rainbow of colours for nutrients.

Get a notepad and pen or use your smartphone if you have one and record prices in different stores for different products per 100g or per serving. I did this and worked out the cheapest produce and cheapest proteins, with produce the difference is way over tenfold and I didn't even bother with fruits and veggies I already knew were pricey here. We can get fresh pigs liver for £1 a kilo in our Walmart (Asda), whereas their cheapest, nastiest fattiest frozen ground beef/ pork is £2.75 a kilo so nearly three times the price.
January 12, 2013 11:56 AM
Your food diary is closed so it's hard to know what to say. A lot depends on what you consider healthy food and which ones you are buying. It is totally possible to eat healthy whole food and not spend a fortune but it means you have to prepare and cook the food yourself. Is your heatlh worth it to you?
January 12, 2013 12:01 PM
Heathly food is cheaper if you cook. I think the real problem is people not prioritizing their health. People would rather spend time on the couch watching tv or complaining on the internet than learning to cook and prep food properly. Eating healthy is not convenient either. If someone prefers convenience over health than it doesnt matter how much money you have. Look how fat oprah is and shes rich. There are tons of other very wealthy obese people so its not necessarily a cost issue
Edited by victoria4321 On January 12, 2013 12:02 PM
January 12, 2013 12:01 PM
1 i agree w you

2 i recommend off setting the cost of some healthy foods by including cheaper healthy options in you diet: brown rice, beans, cabbage, frozen veggies, etc. If you make a crockpot full of beans, it is about as cheap as 1 can of beans but you can freeze them and are quick to throw in the microwave (if you freeze the beans flat).

3 consider shopping when things are in season as they are often cheaper. here is list that may help:
http://frugalliving.about.com/od/foodsavings/tp/Cheapest_Produce.htm

4 if you are so willing and have the room in your yard, consider growing your own vegetables. it's active so that is a plus AND homegrown food is just so much more tasty than store bought. It also makes affording things like red bell peppers, all diff kinds of lettuce, cilantro, berries, etc negligible.
January 12, 2013 12:02 PM
QUOTE:

well one reason is that the government subsidizes certain things such as corn (very cheap to grow and makes a lot of profit). so corn starch for example, which is extremely unhealthy, is made extremely cheap and companies then use it in a lot of their products. :(

Yes and milk ugh! they do subsidize soy a little but soymilk (or rice, almond, flax or whatever non-animal milk) should not be more expensive than (imo nasty and unhealthy) cow milk.

OP, I make my own bread every week. I also buy frozen mixed vegetables and make a giant pot of healthy veggie soup (with lentil or barley) on Sundays. I buy legumes and grains in bulk and look for sales. Another thing I have found is that my local Asian market has less expensive produce than our chain supermarket so I get my produce there. It might be worth it to shop around. I grow my own herbs and sprouts (indoors) and just try to plan really well so I don't waste food. If you are in a pinch, certain recipes are really inexpensive like beans and rice so look for those types of recipes (there are several good blogs about this just do a google search). I have been doing really well sticking to a budget and eating healthy. Of course I'm veg. so I don't spend any money on meat, not sure if it is really expensive or not but I know it's subsidized (which I think really sucks).

ETA:
QUOTE:
Heathly food is cheaper if you cook. I think the real problem is people not prioritizing their health. People would rather spend time on the couch watching tv or complaining on the internet than learning to cook and prep food properly. Eating healthy is not convenient either. If someone prefers convenience over health than it doesnt matter how much money you have. Look how fat oprah is and shes rich. There are tons of other very wealthy obese people so its not necessarily a cost issue

Yes this ^ I make a lot of my own foods. Of particular note are the vegan items I make that are far more expensive to buy than to make (like vegan cheese and seitan). And cooking is so much better because you know exactly what is going into your body.
Edited by gingerveg On January 12, 2013 12:06 PM
January 12, 2013 12:05 PM
QUOTE:

well one reason is that the government subsidizes certain things such as corn (very cheap to grow and makes a lot of profit). so corn starch for example, which is extremely unhealthy, is made extremely cheap and companies then use it in a lot of their products. :(


exactly. it's an example of capitalism screwing the consumer. it's one of the big reasons the US is now ranked behind 27 other nations in life expectancy.
  20419576
January 12, 2013 12:09 PM
LoL, you make a point. Growing vegetables is in my blood. Many people just do not realize that organic = bugs. I often tell people if they buy a head of organic lettuce and don't find a bug, it prob isn't really organic. (Things at grocery stores labeled organic is 1 thing bc of regulations but there are people who sell at farmer's markets who will market as organic due to increased value). the only way to really know for sure that your produce is organic is to grow it yourself....but i don't think ppl want to accept this.

QUOTE:

After finding worms in my brussel sprouts, I say bring ONNNN the poison. I never buy organic, and I use the bag of frozen chicken breasts. It can be expensive if you let it, but there are definitely more economical choices if you think outside the box.
January 12, 2013 12:09 PM
I plan my meals out a week ahead now. Every Sunday, I clip coupons, check the grocery online ad and take stock of what I already have in my kitchen. I make a grocery list and head to the store every Sunday. I work mid nights in a dispatch center and own a tattoo shop so I used to always just buy the pre frozen meals and heat them up. Only cooking an actual meal on Mondays. I only ate once a day also, which we all know isn't great. My grocery bill, prior, was fairly low. Now, I cook homemade healthy meals every day, for four people and no longer eat out. I eat anywhere from 4 to 6 times a day. Also, the meals I make, I almost always have left overs so I get 2 meals out of one. I am spending a bit more but it's only because we are actually eating more. Probably 3 times more then we were before. So in reality, I'm saving money. If I were to eat as much of the non healthy foods as I do the healthy ones, I'd have to sell my cars..lol. Plan your meals. Make a grocery list. Check ads and clip coupons. Get the store loyalty cards. I save a ton with those. Not only am I now eating healthier, I feel better. Never would I thought that eating MORE would make me feel better but I do. Stick with it and get a well laid out plan and it won't seem as if you are spending so much on food.
  5285917
January 12, 2013 12:11 PM
its not
  19102823
January 12, 2013 12:13 PM
Healthy people don't make the medical industry rich.
January 12, 2013 12:13 PM
Hi Iceman420
There are several reasons. Marketing, consumer society,your personal tastes, brain chemistry just to name a few. Your senses take in the visual image of what you love to eat. Reach for your money, yum. But not good for you.
Healthy food requires you think about the value, weigh the needs, and decide what is good for you. You have decided to loose weight, congratulations.
Healthy food is a choice, seasonal pricing usually plays a role. Just being aware of what you need now. Most of us are keeping track of our money, due to the recession.
Keep tracking your food, and thanks for a great question.
Salleyafe1
January 12, 2013 12:15 PM
What's more expensive are the doctor's visits one might incur from eating unhealthy over time. We started eating healthy last November and only go out twice a month for dinner. Evens out per our budget. Besides, if anything is inflated price wise per foods, it is definitely any eatery, fast food (we don't go there anymore), pizza, etc.

Pay now or pay much more later.

Be healthy, my friend.
January 12, 2013 12:15 PM
My idea of why expensive food costs so much more here in America:

Unhealthy, cheap food leads to health problems. Health problems lead to doctor/hospital visits and Rx revenues.

Healthier food is less likely to lead to such instances. Medical industry is like the single biggest money engine in the US. They gotta make up the windfall somewhere.

I'm sure there are other and far more logical explanations for it, but just one possible take on it!

(note: not all healthier food is more expensive - some of it is, like Greek versus standard yogurt, but unless you're going for the specialty items, it seems to be more often the exception than the norm)
January 12, 2013 12:16 PM
QUOTE:

My idea of why expensive food costs so much more here in America:

Unhealthy, cheap food leads to health problems. Health problems lead to doctor/hospital visits and Rx revenues.

Healthier food is less likely to lead to such instances. Medical industry is like the single biggest money engine in the US. They gotta make up the windfall somewhere.

I'm sure there are other and far more logical explanations for it, but just one possible take on it!

(note: not all healthier food is more expensive - some of it is, like Greek versus standard yogurt, but unless you're going for the specialty items, it seems to be more often the exception than the norm)


Bingo!

Reply

Message Boards » Food and Nutrition

Posts by members, moderators and admins should not be considered medical advice and no guarantee is made against accuracy.