Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan visits California to promote affordability of healthy food
New USDA Study Details that Healthy Food Can be Most Affordable
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today joined leaders from the produce industry at Driscoll's Berries farm to promote healthy food access and to highlight a new report that underscores that fruits and vegetables are an affordable part of a balanced diet. The USDA study concludes that healthy foods – including fruits and vegetables - are often no more expensive than less-healthy foods.
"We all know that we have room for improvements in our diets as we work towards the MyPlate goal of 'making half our plates fruit and vegetables' and this new study shows that we can make those improvements in an affordable way especially when it comes to whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables," said Merrigan. "We look forward to working with our partners in the produce industry to make sure that all Americans have access to healthy, affordable foods."
The high cost of healthy foods is often cited as a potential barrier to consumers' making healthy food choices. The study defines healthy foods as those that contain at least a specified proportion of a major food group and contain only moderate amounts of sodium, saturated fats and/or added sugars. Researchers estimated the prices of over 4,000 foods using 3 different measures: price per calorie (or food energy), price by weight, and price per average amount consumed. Previous studies have usually measured the price of foods using the price per calorie. All previous studies that find healthy food more expensive than less healthy food use the price-per-calorie measure.
Measured by the cost per portion, or per pound, grains, vegetables, fruit, and dairy foods are actually less expensive than most protein foods and foods high in saturated fat, added sugars, and/or sodium. In fact, carrots, onions, pinto beans, lettuce, mashed potatoes, bananas, and orange juice are all less expensive per portion than soft drinks, ice cream, chocolate candy, French fries, and sweet rolls, as well as chicken patties, pork chops, or ground beef.
Additional information and the full report can be view at: Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? It Depends on How You Measure the Price.
During the month of June, USDA will be celebrating the first anniversary of MyPlate with special blog postings on its website, daily Tweets on healthy eating, recipes, partner images, and MyPlate Happy Birthday coloring pages for kids, among other user-friendly resources. In addition, the quarterly MyPlate message for May through June will be "Drink Water Instead of Sugary Drinks" to highlight that thirst quenching water can be dressed up with a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange as a great way to round out a healthy plate.
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