Healthy Eating Is More Expensive The Further You Are From The CBD

01/04/2016 8:43 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Rural Victorians are being priced out of healthy eating with a groundbreaking study showing the same basket of groceries cost an extra $8.40 for every 100km from the city centre.

The Monash University study also showed the mean cost of a healthy diet for a family of four increased from $424.06 a fortnight in winter 2012 to $451.19 in summer 2014.

In the study, published Thursday, researchers bought the same basket of healthy food in 26 local government areas over three years in summer and winter.

What's in the fortnightly basket for a typical family of four


Bread and cereals

White bread -- 1.4 loaves,

Wholemeal bread -- 5.8 loaves,

Crumpets -- 3 packets,

Weetbix -- 1.4 packets,

Instant oats -- 1.5 packets,

Pasta 1.7 packets,

White rice -- 1.4 bags,

Instant noodles -- 9 packets,

Premium biscuits -- 1.3 packets


Fruit

Apples -- 5.8kg,

Oranges -- 5.7kg,

Bananas -- 4.1kg,

Tinned fruit salad -- 9 tins,

Sultanas -- small packet,

Orange Juice -- 2.5L


Vegetables and legumes

Tomatoes -- 4.7kg,

Potatoes -- 2.6kg,

Pumpkin -- 2.7kg,

Cabbage -- 3.7kg,

Lettuce -- 2.8kg,

Carrots -- 3.1kg,

Onions -- 1.2kg,

Frozen peas -- 1kg,

Tinned tomatoes -- 8 tins,

Tinned beetroot -- 0.8 tins,

Tinned corn kernels -- 2.1 tins,

Tinned baked beans -- 9.5 tins


Meat and alternatives

Bacon -- 0.75kg,

Ham -- 1.54kg,

Beef mince -- 1.1kg,

Lamb forequarter chops -- 0.8kg,

Chicken fillets -- 1.3kg,

Sausages -- 0.9kg,

Tinned tuna -- 2.8 tins,

Tinned salmon -- 2.9 tins,

Large eggs -- 1.6 boxes


Dairy

Full cream milk -- 2L,

Reduced fat milk -- 13.8L,

Reduced fat yoghurt -- 8.4 tubs,

Long life milk -- 0.6L,

Cheese -- 2.1 blocks


Non-core foods

Margarine -- 1.4 tubs,

White sugar -- 0.1kg,

Canola oil -- 0.6 bottles

Study co-author Claire Palermo told The Huffington Post Australia the basket constituted a third of a fortnightly Centrelink payment.

"The study showed the most nutritious parts of the basket like meat fruit and vegetables were the most expensive and it begs the question, are they the things that are dropping out?" Palermo told HuffPost Australia.

"Obesity is a very complex problem but one part of becoming obese is food choice and we know cost and availability of food is a big indicator of diet."

Palermo said the irony was not lost on her that many people in regional areas paying more for fresh food were growers and producers themselves.

"This research shows we need to look at much more local food systems so farmers get a better price and customers get a better price," Palermo said.

Geelong bulk shop Diversitat Wholefoods onsite manager Chris Lafornara said communities were coming up with their own way to find affordable foods in regional areas.

"We sell bulk foods so you get people coming in and buying a sack of flour, or even a sack of grains to mill themselves because it ends up being that much cheaper," Lafornara said.

"Where we can, we source fresh fruit and veggies from a local biodynamic farm. Then I've got a local honey supplier and an olive oil supplier from Geelong. Sometimes you can't, but where there's a local supplier, we always go with that."

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