The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Study says healthy food is not more expensive

Buying healthy food is not more expensive than buying less healthy food if economists and consumers consider the price per pound instead of the price per calorie, the Agriculture Department's Economic Research Service said in a study released Wednesday.

Previous economic studies relying on a per-calorie measurement concluded that fruits and vegetables are more expensive than other sources of nourishment, Andrea Carlson, an ERS economist said in a call to reporters.

Her new study is called "Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? It Depends on How You Measure the Price."

The study concluded that healthy foods are not really more expensive, after statistically analyzing the price per pound.

Officials also said that canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are all good sources of cheaper, healthier foods than many of the less-healthy choices now on the market. The study defined "less healthy foods" for the purposes of the study as being "foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and/or sodium, or that contribute little to meeting dietary recommendations."

While canned vegetables are often in preserved in salty brine, washing the canned vegetables with water will remove some of the sodium, one official noted.

The study was conducted using foods customers buy in stores. the Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon noted during the call, that Americans can be encouraged to grow some of their own vegetables, pointing out that the U.S. food stamp program allows participants to buy garden seeds with their benefits.