The idea that health food costs more than junk food is something I hear a lot these days*.
Students tell me they’d like to eat better but can’t afford to.
So here’s a bit of my research findings as to why this maybe the case.
*Fresh fruits and veggies are more expensive to farm than crops that will be processed.
*Produce relies on human labor rather than machines, and machines are more efficient and cheaper in the long run. Best example of this is bottled aerated drinks are cheaper than nimbu paani.
*Business of fresh and unprocessed food that is preservatives free is highly perishable and has reduced shelf life and therefore they are more expensive
*The fluctuations of raw materials varies drastically. Add to this there are also seasonal availability issues that make items like avocado and grapes expensive when they are imported.
*When an MRP is mentioned on the menu card, a price is quoted as fixed. At times even to commit to that price and make the item available on the menu becomes a challenge as there is no scope to accommodate the steep increase in cost price. People are used to “Ask for Price” when it comes to fish since it has become a conditioned norm but not for exotic vegetables like Iceberg lettuce, Lolo Rosso, Kale, or Arugula that most people are not even much aware of.
*When you eat at an eatery you need to understand that the service provider can make the product available only if he can sustain the business. Eating chaat at the beach in a plastic plate is not the same as eating at a table in an air conditioned environment. Rent of the place varies as per location. Also another aspect about health food is hygiene. It cannot be hygienic if served in places with hovering flies or where the plates are rinsed and not washed.
Last but not least, quality comes at a price. Unfortunately not everyone understands the difference to comprehend “why” the price.
It’s more expensive to pay for induced illness in the long run than to make small investments in building health. Remember that repair doesn’t always restore.
Lastly 200 calories from junk and 200 calories from a healthy meal like a salad is not the same.
The degree to which both can fill your hunger is also not the same. And above all, the way both will be (or will not be) broken down by your body too is not the same.
The right perspective to look at the comparison is not as health food vs junk but rather a meal v/s a meal and compare Taste (when it comes to food i believe that number one criteria is Taste), Nutrition value(It’s important what you eat is good for you), How filling it is (definitely this defines value as perceived by the consumer), it’s benefits to your health and lastly the price point.