Do healthier foods and diet patterns cost more than less healthy options? A systematic review and meta-analysis

BMJ:  12/5/13

Objective To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of prices of healthier versus less healthy foods/diet patterns while accounting for key sources of heterogeneity.

Data sources MEDLINE (2000–2011), supplemented with expert consultations and hand reviews of reference lists and related citations.

Design Studies reviewed independently and in duplicate were included if reporting mean retail price of foods or diet patterns stratified by healthfulness. We extracted, in duplicate, mean prices and their uncertainties of healthier and less healthy foods/diet patterns and rated the intensity of health differences for each comparison (range 1–10). Prices were adjusted for inflation and the World Bank purchasing power parity, and standardised to the international dollar (defined as US$1) in 2011. Using random effects models, we quantified price differences of healthier versus less healthy options for specific food types, diet patterns and units of price (serving, day and calorie). Statistical heterogeneity was quantified using I2statistics. Read more