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Why do we think healthy eating is expensive?

50% of Mexicans estimate that healthy food is expensive. This becomes one of the main barriers to adopting a balanced diet.

It is very common to hear from people that the first obstacle they find to achieving a healthy diet is its price. This is due to the fact that the consumer thinks that they must spend considerably to obtain a diet that includes natural products and free of preservatives.

The editor of the British Medical Journal, Navjoyt Ladher, has an explanation for this myth. In her publication  Nutrition science in the media: you are what you read, the expert details that the media information on healthy products is often incomplete and generates confusing messages about what to eat.

Navjoyt Ladher notes that food marketing caused audiences to have little or no information about the nutritional value of a product based on its cost. Being uninformed, the consumer trusts that a high price is an indicator that the food is of good quality. In other words, the general perception that healthy food, which is sold as the highest standard, has high prices is a reality promoted by the market.

To further understand this social phenomenon, Dr. Rebecca Reczek, a consumer behavior specialist and professor at Ohio State University, conducted research. The study consisted of an experiment in which different people were encouraged to try “the healthiest protein bar in the world.”

Reczek notified each of the participants that the average cost of a bar is two dollars, but that theirs was 99 cents. Although the reasons why the product provides greater nutrients were explained to them, most of the guests did not believe that this price was the real one. This is due to the fact that its commercial perspective is strongly rooted in that a high cost is synonymous with health.

In this context, the consumer was left with the idea that everything that has the healthy label should also be expensive, regardless of its origin. Whether it’s fruits, vegetables or natural items, that point of view generates a rejection even before you do your grocery shopping.

In the research  Is a healthy diet affordable? The Institute of Economic Affairs (IAE) in England estimates that by following the Eatwell Guide, one of the most accurate dietary models in the world, the management of the family or personal budget is more effective. The agency adds that switching to healthy versions of basic supplies is possible without absorbing a high additional cost.

The IAE emphasizes that buying fruits or vegetables in season and cooking with natural products are more profitable practices than they seem. In addition, he adds that with a healthy diet a person is more likely to receive the necessary nutrients with a single meal compared to processed foods, which will save medical expenses in the future.

If you think about the health benefits of natural products (as the IEA points out), buying these types of products will be favorable in terms of cost. For example, at YEMA, the first conscious supermarket in Mexico, it offers a natural version of the famous hazelnut cream. While commercial brands barely reach 13% hazelnuts mixed with high amounts of sugar, YEMA’s offering contains 78% of the roasted walnut and other natural sources that are more favorable for the body.

Finally, the data agency Nielsen points out that 50% of Mexicans believe that prices are an impediment to buying healthy food. The most effective solution to reduce that number is to promote the correct information about those products, since in this way the adoption of a healthier lifestyle will be motivated.

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