Study Shows That Sustainable Diets in High-income Countries Cut Down Food Costs

A study by Oxford University revealed that going flexitarian, vegetarian, or vegan in countries such as Australia, the U.K, the U.S, and Western Europe could reduce your food spending by a third.

The researchers used food prices from the International Comparison Program from the World Bank to compare the diets in 150 countries to 7 sustainable diets. Vegan diets in high-income countries were cheaper and lowered food costs by a third. Vegetarian diets followed closely behind while flexitarian diets where people reduced dairy and meat consumption cut costs by 14%. Pescatarian diets, on the other hand, raised food costs by 2%.

Many people assume sustainable diets are expensive

According to a researcher for the Oxford Martin Program on the Future of Food, Dr. Marco Springmann, many people will be surprised by the idea that flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan first can save them so much money. Many people complain that scientists who support a healthy and environmentally friendly diet are promoting something that is not financially feasible. However, this new study shows otherwise as it proves that these diets are not only good for you but better for your finances.

Miguel Barclay, who wrote One Pound Meals, agrees that you could save money by cutting out meat. He adds that he has seven budget cookbooks and realized that vegetarian meals always cost the least.

However, the study only involved whole foods. It did not evaluate the difference between these diets and eating at restaurants or highly processed meat.

A sustainable diet in low-income countries is expensive

In India and Sub-Saharan Africa, a sustainable diet costs less than a normal Western diet but is one-third more expensive than local diets. The researchers concluded that it would be possible to make sustainable healthy food cheaper globally in the coming decade. It will be possible when economic development goes hand in hand with more affordable food, reduce food wastage, and control climate change.

Springmann points out that many people from low-income countries eat starchy food and not many healthy foods. Western countries, on the other hand, eat a lot of food that is unhealthy, unsustainable, and expensive in low-income countries despite them being often desirable.

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