Availability, affordability and quality of a healthy food basket in Adelaide, South Australia

Authors


  • K.C. Wong, MND, Student J. Coveney, PhD, Professor P.R. Ward, PhD, Professor R. Muller, PhD, Research Fellow P. Carter, APD, Chief Project Officer, Public Health Nutrition F. Verity, PhD, Associate Professor G. Tsourtos, PhD, Senior Lecturer

J. Coveney, Department of Public Health, Flinders University, PO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Email: john.coveney@flinders.edu.au

Abstract

Aim:  To investigate the cost, affordability, availability and quality of a healthy food basket in high and low household income areas of Adelaide, and to investigate food promotion in supermarkets.

Methods:  A cross-sectional survey was undertaken in May 2009 with a sample of 61 supermarkets, 27 greengrocers and 34 butchers in metropolitan Adelaide. Samples were selected based on household income for extreme tertiles across Adelaide.

Results:  Low-income families were significantly worse off in comparison with high-income families (P < 0.05) regarding affordability of the healthy food basket. The data analysis demonstrated that families on welfare payments and low incomes would need to spend 28–34% of their income in order to be able to afford a healthy food basket. However, there was no significant difference in the cost, availability, and quality of the healthy food basket and food promotions between high and low household income areas.

Conclusion:  The present study examined the cost, affordability, availability and quality of the healthy food basket, as well as an assessment of food promotions in supermarkets, finding no difference between high and low household income areas. The study provides valuable information to assist in a deeper understanding of food security in Adelaide. It is recommended that a longitudinal study would assist in establishing a reliable healthy food basket monitoring system that could lead to more robust policy outcomes.

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