Are ‘cheap’ foods really cheap, or are they expensive in both the short- and long-term? It depends on what you measure. If you want cheap calories, you know where to go. After all, the inflation-adjusted price of soda has declined by an estimated 48% over the past 20 years. On the other hand, if you want cheap nutrition, then you’ve got to head for the fruits, vegetables and grains, according to analysis by the USDA.
The study used three measures: (1) price per calorie, (2) price per average portion and (3) price per edible portion. So called cheap foods are cheaper only on the price per calorie scale. When it comes to both portion measures, healthier foods win out. So why spend more to get less when you can get more and spend less?
hey say that what gets measured gets done, and it’s clearly time to account for nutrition instead of volume. Today we remain awash in the notion that more is better in so many aspects of our lives, and food is no exception. It feels strange at first to spend your typical amount at the grocery store on more nutritious types of food and find yourself leaving with fewer grocery bags. People feel cheated to a degree. But if we continue to measure food in terms of pure volume, then volume is what we’ll get: on plates and on bodies. That, in terms of health, health care and quality of life, turns out not to be cheap at all.