The Cost of a Healthy Diet


What does it cost to eat healthy?

According to a landmark international report based on work led by William Masters and colleagues at the Friedman School, the answer is: too much for the poor, but less than what most of the world’s people already spend on food.

Released last year by the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, and other U.N. agencies, the flagship report “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” (SOFI 2020) states that about 3 billion people in the world cannot afford even the cheapest form of a healthy diet. Meanwhile, over 4 billion spend more than that, and often eat less healthily than they could.

“The SOFI report documented for the first time how many people around the world cannot afford what nutritionists say is a healthy diet, based on the composition and prices of foods available in their local markets,” Masters noted, adding that “the flip side of that is showing how nutritional needs could be met at lower cost than what higher income people now consume.”

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