The cost of achieving the Eatwell Guide diet: 2023 update
KAUR A., SCARBOROUGH P.
Background The Eatwell Guide is a pie-chart representing the UK government’s dietary advice and is used to promote healthy diets in a range of settings. The angles of these food groups depicted in the Eatwell Guide were derived from population diet optimisation modelling (a method to find the optimum diet under certain conditions and constraints) based on the population average diet. In 2016, we estimated that the cost of the current (population average) diet was £6.02 (95% Confidence Intervals [CIs] £5.96 to £6.08) per adult, per day and the cost of achieving the Eatwell Guide diet (i.e. a diet that meets the dietary recommendations with the least deviation from the current diet) was £5.99 (95% CIs £5.93 to £6.05) per adult, per day. This estimate was based on price data on 7575 food items listed on a UK supermarket price comparison website in 2016. In 2022, we estimated the cost of achieving the Eatwell Guide diet using food price data of foods and drinks available for purchase in November 2019 from the UK’s leading online supermarkets. We estimated that, based on data for 13912 food items, the cost of achieving a healthy diet was £6.82 per person, per day. Aim The aim of this project is to update the estimated price of achieving a healthy diet (i.e. the Eatwell Guide diet). Methods We estimated the cost of achieving the Eatwell Guide diet through linking food price data from foodDB - a time-stamped, weekly updated database of all foods and drinks available for purchases from the UK’s leading online supermarkets - with food consumption estimates from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey and the 2016 Eatwell Guide study. For this update, we used data taken from UK supermarkets in May 2022 – two and a half years after the price data were collected for our previous estimate. We calculated the median and inter-quartile range, for the prices of the matched foodDB food items for 125 NDNS sub-food groups. The cost of the Eatwell Guide diet was calculated by summing the median prices for each of the 125 sub-food groups. Results Based on data collected in May 2022 for 18,441 food items, the cost of the baseline diet is £6.82 per person, per day and the cost of achieving a healthy diet is £7.48 per person, per day.