University study reveals widening gap
A study by Cambridge University has revealed that eating a healthy diet can be three times more expensive than a diet of unhealthy food. Researchers from the University’s Centre for Diet and Activity Research tracked the prices of 94 food items defined as healthy or not by the government from 2002 to 2012. They found that 1,000 calories of healthy foods such as fish, vegetables and yoghurt cost an average of £7.49 in 2012. Whereas the price for 1,000 calories of less healthy items like baked goods, burgers and pizza cost on average £2.50.
The research has also revealed that this gap has widened from £3.88 a decade ago to £4.99 today. Whilst the price of 1,000 healthier calories has risen by £1.84 over the past ten years, the unhealthy calorific equivalent increased by just 73 pence.
Lead author Nicholas Jones said:
"Food poverty and the rise of food banks have recently been an issue of public concern in the UK, but as well as making sure people don't go hungry it is also important that a healthy diet is affordable. The increase in the price difference between more and less healthy foods is a factor that may contribute towards growing food insecurity, increasing health inequalities, and a deterioration in the health of the population."
The researchers are now calling on Government to take more action in making healthy food more affordable.