The cost and availability of healthy food choices in southern Derbyshire


J. Barrat Derbyshire Royal Infirmary NHS Trust, London Road, Derby DE1 2QY, UK


There has been general agreement among experts over the last decade on what constitutes a healthy diet for the prevention of many of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in the UK, and for the treatment of diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidaemias. People are generally aware of the link between diet and health, but there is concern that foods which need to be included in the diet for it to meet current recommendations may be difficult to find and expensive. The 7-day intake of an adult woman, which matched many of the current diet targets (including those of NACNE, the Department of Health and the British Diabetic Association), was costed in supermarkets in southern Derbyshire in 1990, 1992 and 1994, and also in smaller retail outlets in 1994. Whilst the availability of foods making up a healthy diet has improved in supermarkets in southern Derbyshire over the years of the study, and the cost to supermarket shoppers is coming down, a healthy diet is still more expensive than the average diet. Also, those who shop with smaller retailers (usually those on lower incomes and at higher risk of diet related disease) will still have difficulty finding some food items, and will find a healthy diet prohibitively expensive.