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The Financial Cost of Healthy Eating in Ireland


Friel, S., Walsh, O., and McCarthy, D.

Subject Keywords: Study on the cost of healthy eating in Ireland and the food choice among low-income households
Topic: Cardiovascular Health (Draft)
Chronic Conditions
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)
Chronic Conditions
Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland

Access to and availability of healthy foods are the two main determinants of food choice among low-income households. This study aimed to determine the cost of healthy eating over the course of a week for low-income households comprising two parents with two children, lone parents with one child and single older people. Market brand and economy-line 'own brand' products were used to determine the retail cost of baskets of foods developed for these population groups. The food baskets were based on purchasing patterns of these household groups combined with dietary recommendations of the Irish food pyramid. National level prices were identified and pricing was also undertaken at local level in a representative selection of different retail outlet types. Healthy food baskets are approximately 15 per cent less expensive if nutritionally similar own brand choices are made. The type of retail outlet in which low-income groups tend to shop does not carry many own brand items, is less likely to stock healthy options but when it does these are more expensive than in other outlets. Very high proportions of household income would be necessary to purchase the food basket based on economy-line products (Lone parents 80 per cent, two adults with two children 69 per cent and single older people 38 per cent). Healthy eating is not currently feasible among certain groups on social welfare benefits or minimum wages. This research will act as an information base to inform policy makers in their development of policy and action towards not only ensuring financial capacity but also guaranteeing that affordable healthy food choices are physically available to all groups in society.



Rights: © Combat Poverty Agency
Suggested citation:

Friel, S., Walsh, O., and McCarthy, D.. (2004) The Financial Cost of Healthy Eating in Ireland [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 16th September 2019].


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