Eating healthy can seem like a challenge when you’re on a tight budget. But with some understanding of why healthy food is so expensive, you can give yourself the best chance to make healthier choices that won’t break your budget. Here are five common factors that impact the cost of healthy food.
Supply and demand.
This is one of the most important reasons why health-food can be so expensive. The demand for healthy food is steadily increasing, but the supply often cannot keep up with it. Higher demand means higher prices for farmers, who must produce more to meet the needs of consumers. Additionally, the cost of land and labor can also contribute to higher prices.
Rising input costs.
Along with increasing demand for health-food, rising input costs also add to its price. The cost of labor and other materials – such as water, fuel, and fertilizer – used in the production of healthy food can push the prices up. Furthermore, food manufacturers may be required to abide by certain standards when it comes to their ingredients, labor practices, and environmental policies. These standards can lead to additional expenses that must be factored into the price of health-food.
Poor distribution systems in developing countries.
In developing countries, poor distribution systems account for much of the higher price of healthy food. For example, when a single store or wholesaler is responsible for purchasing bulk food from farmers and selling it to consumers in an area, buyers don’t have many options and oftentimes get charged higher prices than would be possible with more competition or a better-developed supply chain. As a result, residents living in rural areas may find themselves paying premium prices for health-foods due to lack of access to larger stores and markets.
Advanced product processing methods required by health-food companies.
The process of producing certain health-foods requires the use of advanced processing methods that often cost more than what some conventional food producers spend. This is especially true for products such as organic produce, which must be grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Additionally, health-foods may require special equipment or ingredients to stay within organic standards, or to make them safe for special dietary needs such as gluten or dairy-free options.
Taxation and government policies that favor unhealthy food systems rather than healthy ones.
One of the major reasons why healthy food may be more expensive is due to taxation and government policies that favor unhealthy food systems and large producers, rather than small-scale farmers. For example, in the US, subsidies have been given to fast-food restaurants and the production of corn syrup. This makes it harder for smaller producers to compete in terms of cost. Additionally, certain taxes are applied differently to certain foods which can cause a difference in prices.