Measuring cost and affordability of healthy and less healthy diet globally

Lee, Amanda & Mackay, Sally (2015) Measuring cost and affordability of healthy and less healthy diet globally. In ICDAM9, 1-3 September 2015, Brisbane, Qld. (Unpublished)


The INFORMAS food prices module proposes a step-wise framework to measure the cost and affordability of population diets. The price differential and the tax component of healthy and less healthy foods, food groups, meals and diets will be benchmarked and monitored over time. Results can be used to model or assess the impact of fiscal policies, such as ‘fat taxes’ or subsidies. Key methodological challenges include: defining healthy and less healthy foods, meals, diets and commonly consumed items; including costs of alcohol, takeaways, convenience foods and time; selecting the price metric; sampling frameworks; and standardizing collection and analysis protocols.

The minimal approach uses three complementary methods to measure the price differential between pairs of healthy and less healthy foods. Specific challenges include choosing policy relevant pairs and defining an anchor for the lists. The expanded approach measures the cost of a healthy diet compared to the current (less healthy) diet for a reference household. It requires dietary principles to guide the development of the healthy diet pricing instrument and sufficient information about the population’s current intake to inform the current (less healthy) diet tool. The optimal approach includes measures of affordability and requires a standardised measure of household income that can be used for different countries.

The feasibility of implementing the protocol in different countries is being tested in New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. The impact of different decision points to address challenges will be investigated in a systematic manner. We will present early insights and results from this work.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 93238
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Food prices, Affordability, Monitoring and surveillance, INFORMAS
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 26 Feb 2016 04:36
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2016 04:36

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