Are Healthy Choices Putting You Out of Pocket?

healthy foods

It’s a debate that’s been raging for years. Do healthy foods cost more than their slightly less healthy counterparts? While we all want to stay healthy, foods that we know are far from it can be just so tempting, regardless of their price. The latest big name to weigh in on the issue is Compare the Market who have done some research into high street chains to see if they really are putting a premium on healthy foods. You can check out their research here to see for yourself.

So, are high street brands charging us more to make healthy choices?

Take McDonald’s as an example, their grilled chicken salad costs £3.33, whereas a Big Mac is just £3.19. According to Compare the Market, that means that the cost of 100 calories in a Big Mac is just 63 pence, but the cost of 100 calories for the healthy option is £2.50.

Subway is often looked at as a healthy option, but are they any better? A six-inch B.M.T costs £3.35, but the salad version will set you back £3.65. It’s even more disappointing as many Subway stores only recently charged the same for salad bowl versions of sandwiches. Are they simply putting a tax on eating healthy?

A study from 2014 seemed to agree that eating healthily could be more expensive than choosing less healthy options. The Telegraph commented on the study, stating,

“They found that 1,000 calories made up from healthy items, such as lean salmon, yoghurts and tomatoes, cost an average of £7.49 in 2012. The same calorie intake from less healthy items, such as pizza, beef burgers, and doughnuts, could be purchased for an average of £2.50. The gap between the two 1,000 calorie baskets is now £4.99, the research found, when ten years ago it was £3.88”.

Four years on from this study, it still looks like healthier options are costing shoppers more. This is pretty disappointing for so many people who are trying to balance health and finances.

So, how can you make the best choices for your health and for your pocket?

The simplest way of cutting down on the costs of eating healthy is by preparing your own food rather than buying lunches on the high street. While you still may be paying a little more for the calories in healthy foods compared to less healthy options, you’re unlikely to be shelling out for such high premiums as you would in places like McDonald’s, Pret a Manger and Starbucks.

Taking your own lunch to work could save you more money than you might think. In fact, The Guardian commented on this back in 2015, referring to a study conducted by Ofgem, which claimed that the average office worker spends £2.83 a day on high street lunches.

“The research suggests that the 62% of employed Britons who buy their lunches are spending an average of £1,840 each year, based on 46 working weeks, while those who take food from home spend £552”.

It’s no secret that bringing your lunch from home is cheaper than buying it on the high street, but what hasn’t been made quite as obvious is the premium that high street brands place on offering you a healthy option when you choose to dine out.


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