Wholesome meals costs are rising sooner than unhealthy meals costs

Figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the Nutrition Center have shown that despite the Dutch government’s efforts to improve the health of the Dutch population, prices of healthy food are rising faster than prices of unhealthy products.

Healthy food is becoming more and more expensive

According to CBS and the Nutrition Center, between 2021 and 2020, healthy food prices rose 21 percent, while unhealthy foods only got 15 percent more expensive. Overall, food prices have risen 18 percent over the past 10 years.

The rising costs are worrying as it becomes more and more expensive to lead a healthy lifestyle. Liesbeth Velema from the Netherlands Nutrition Center suggests that the government must take further action to ensure that people can afford a healthy diet. “It would be nice if the healthy choice became an easy choice,” says Velema.

The good news is that the price difference has become less noticeable over the past two years, suggesting that the government’s National Prevention Agreement – which aims to fight smoking, obesity and problematic alcohol use in the Netherlands, and to improve the health of the population improve – seems to work. Between 2018 and 2020, unhealthy foods rose 2.3 percent, while the price of healthy products only rose 1.8 percent.

The Netherlands spends 7.18 euros a day on food and drink

In the unhealthy food segment, ice cream and candy have actually fallen in price over the past decade, while butter has increased by 66 percent and unhealthy (carbonated) drinks by 17 percent.

In the case of healthy foods, on the other hand, eggs recorded the strongest price increase at 47 percent. Both semi-skimmed and skimmed milk rose 43 percent and fruit rose a whopping 26 percent. Vegetables recorded a much smaller increase (only six percent).

According to the study, people in the Netherlands spent an average of 7.18 euros per day on food and beverages for personal consumption in 2020.

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