Retail prices of healthy foods rising: study

August 3, 2010 by Mary Guiden

( -- As the federal government prepares to issue its latest guidelines for healthy eating, UW researchers have found retail prices of the most nutritious foods are increasing at a higher rate than other foods.

"The rising disparity in the price of : 2004 -- 2008" was published online in Policy last month.

While all food prices have risen substantially between 2004 and 2008, the price of the most nutrient-dense foods has risen the fastest, said Pablo Monsivais, research scientist at the University of Washington's Center for Nutrition (CPHN) and lead investigator of the study. Nutrient-dense foods are those that deliver more nutrients per calorie, including , lean meats, low fat dairy products, vegetables and fruit. These foods are singled out for "increased intake" in draft versions of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.

"We found a nearly 30 percent increase in the retail price of nutrient-dense foods in four years," said Monsivais. This compares with a 16 percent increase for less-healthy foods including sweets, candy, soft drinks and fatty foods. "The findings have serious implications for national and related policy discussions taking place in communities across the country."

Researchers looked at retail price data for 378 foods and beverages from major supermarket chains in Seattle, Wash. over the four-year timeframe. Selected foods are part of a database of a food frequency questionnaire developed by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and used previously in large-scale studies on diet and health. Supermarkets included in the study include Albertson's, Quality Food Centers (a subsidiary of Kroger) and Safeway.

"These new findings show that food cost may pose a barrier to people adopting healthier diets," said Monsivais, who added that findings are in line with previous CPHN studies. "This may limit the impact of national dietary guidelines." Adam Drewnowski, study director and co-author on the paper, agrees. "Dietary guidelines for all Americans ought to take food prices into account," he said.

The Center for Public Health Nutrition held a "Shopping for Health" conference in May 2010, bringing together public health agencies, supermarket representatives and policymakers from Washington state to discuss healthy foods, cost and new ways to identify healthy, affordable and sustainable foods. For more information on the center's research, visit the web site.

Explore further: Price of lower-calorie foods rising drastically, UW researchers find

Related Stories

Healthy Foods more Expensive than Junk Foods

October 17, 2008

( -- Healthy foods are rising in price faster than their less healthy alternatives. This is the finding of research published in the October issue of Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Recommended for you

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Aug 04, 2010
Food Stamps . . .
Remove 'empty Calorie consumptives' and most 'processed foods' from
items which may be purchased using Food Stamps!
ADM (High Fructose Corn Syrup) will not be pleased, though healthier dining could result.
'HFCS'. . . I read labels, and I am quite astonished, more by the few 'prepared foods' which Do Not contain 'HFCS', than the multitudinous items which list 'HFCS' in their ingredients, often as the second or third ingredient!
'Canned Tomato Products' do not need sweeteners!
Very few 'Fruit Jellies/Preserves are made with Sugar, most are 'HFCS' sweetened!
Read Labels! don't take my word for it.

Roy Stewart,
Phoenix AZ

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.