The cost of three major commodities — corn, rice, and sugar — have risen more than 60% in the last 12 months.
As CNBC’s John Melloy notes, part of this is because of growing demand in emerging markets, but many investors also say the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep interest rates essentially negative for so long is largely to blame for the price spike.
Americans already spend about $4,000 on food each year. But now, in addition to spending more because of food price inflation, if you want to eat healthier, be prepared to spend even more.
A new study at the University of Washington published in the journal Health Affairs, claims eating healthier food can actually add almost 10 percent to the average food bill, and that is just to boost potassium.
Researchers claim eating more potassium can add $380 to the average person’s yearly food costs. “The study also found that it is more expensive to eat more dietary fiber and vitamin D, and that people with higher average incomes were more likely to eat healthier food”.
Eating foods high in saturated fat and added sugar cost less money, according to the study.
“It’s a common misconception that food choices are solely a matter of personal responsibility,”said Dr. Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University and an outspoken critic of the fast food industry. “People are hugely influenced by the price of food. If you don’t have any money and go into the store to buy some fresh fruits, you might decide that it’s cheaper to have a couple of fast food hamburgers”
The following is an abstract of the study published in Health Affairs:
“The federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, emphasized the need for Americans to consume more potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D, and calcium, and to get fewer calories from saturated fat and added sugar. We examined the economic impact of meeting these guidelines for adults in King County, Washington.
“We found that increasing consumption of potassiumthe most expensive of the four recommended nutrientswould add $380 per year to the average consumer’s food costs. Meanwhile, each time consumers obtained 1 percent more of their daily calories from saturated fat and added sugar, their food costs significantly declined.
“These findings suggest that improving the American diet will require additional guidance for consumers, especially those with little budget flexibility, and new policies to increase the availability and reduce the cost of healthful foods.”