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How can the US food system deliver food products consistent with the dietary guidelines? Food marketing and retailing: an economist's view

How can the US food system deliver food products consistent with the dietary guidelines? Food marketing and retailing: an economist's view

Food Policy 24(2/3): 237-253

ISSN/ISBN: 0306-9192

DOI: 10.1016/s0306-9192(99)00022-6

For consumers' diets to conform to the recommendations outlined by the Food Guide Pyramid (FGP), the consumption of fat and sugar would have to decline and fruits and dairy products would need to increase. This study analyzed the impact of changing the prices of aggregate food groups, as designated in the Food Guide Pyramid, on the number of servings that would be eaten. Using the results of this analysis, the subsequent impact on the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) score was determined. A series of calculations involving existing price and income elasticities and linkages between these elasticities and servings of food in the Food Guide Pyramid were employed. This study found that lowering the price of fruits, meats and dairy products would result in food consumption that more closely conforms to the FGP servings recommendations but the changes are small and HEI scores would not improve. Lowering the price of meat increases consumption of all foods (except added sugars) since lower meat prices frees up income to spend on other food. The downside of increasing meat consumption is that it also increases the consumption of discretionary fat more than it increases the consumption of fruits and vegetables or grains. Fat prices would have to be increased l5% to achieve a 1% decrease in fat consumption which would raise the HEI score. Public policy to promote healthful diets involves more than changing food prices or household income. Information and education about diet and health links are critical.

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Accession: 003162368

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