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Will You Pay More For Food with Less Calories?

June 13th, 2008 · 5 Comments ·


Some time ago, one of my friends said, “Clubbing clothes are getting more expensive, especially worn by ladies. But, I don’t understand why girls are paying more for dresses which are skimpy with less material of clothes.” Paying more for less.

That is an interesting thought. In my opinion, dresses are not charged based on “price per inches of material”, but design is the deciding factor in addition to the quality of the material. So, we should not judge its price purely based on the quantity of cloth being used.

How about food, does “price per calorie” make sense too? On first look, it may make sense though. But, it is never fair to decide which food is cheaper, for example, pizza or carrot based on calorie. I doubt people will buy $10 of chocolate instead of $10 of banana just because they can get more calories from the chocolate. Seldom you see advertisement like $9.99 for 100 calories, right?


However, a construction worker who eats food for the sake of getting the most calories for energy may disagree with me.

But, for people whose priority is taste when comes to food, calories alone does not justify the price for any food. Other health conscious group may be willing to pay more for fresh food, especially those non-processed food and organic food which is getting more popular.

Food companies know this well. So, they come up with packaging which emphasizes much on the “organic” concept and they charge more expensive for the so called healthier food. Some businessmen even set up restaurants which serve only organic food. Don’t be surprised that the cost of eating at these restaurants is much higher than the normal ones. Businessmen are making money by taking advantage of people’s awareness, or should it be people’s fear?


Since we are on this organic food topic, many have forgotten how cheap it used to be to buy fresh vegetables and fruit many years ago. Now, it is seen as a luxury to buy fresh diet in big cities. Actually, it is still possible to spend less on healthier food. Just that we need more time and effort to prepare the meal. Instead of processed food, are we willing to spend more time to cook? Instead of using a ready made canned sauce, do we have time to prepare it from scratch?

Restaurant serving organic diet has probably answered these questions for many city folks. So, indirectly, with the belief that organic food is healthier, many have paid more for less (calories) in this case, without knowing that.




Category: Nutrition

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5 responses so far ↓
  • neptunes // Jun 14, 2008 at 12:21 AM

    There is another school of thought that believes that organic food does not offer greater nutritional value over non-organic food. The point I would like to make is it is not necessarily to pay more for less calories. Just eat smart and do not blindly follow the trend.

  • Foong // Jun 14, 2008 at 2:46 AM

    I try to eat organic food whenever possible but it’s really expensive. So I guess the best way is to eat as healthily as humanly possible and try to avoid unhealthy food ie. minimise on processed food, and food with empty nutritional values and food with high transfat. Organic food is good as it’s free from preservatives and chemicals so if you can afford it, go ahead and buy.

  • Yin Teing // Jun 16, 2008 at 12:32 AM

    It’s hard to be able to afford organic food, especially with the rising fuel prices and cost of living. We’ll normally just soak the vege and fruits longer. I think mental well-being plays a very important role in health. I used to be very picky with food- tried being a vegetarian, then tried to completely cut sugar, then went low-carb. Ultimately I find that too much restriction and inflexibility does not make us a happier person… and it inconveniences people around me- to go to places where I can find my type of food to eat. So in the end, I’m a sugar eating omnivor again :)

  • mumsgather // Jun 16, 2008 at 10:31 AM

    Hey Mun, Thanks for dropping by my Parenting blog. You’ve got to write a blog on how ways to keep fit for older aunties like me! :P

  • Answer Fitness // Jun 22, 2008 at 3:40 AM

    I think this is a really fascinating issue and one that I actually had a fairly in-depth discussion with a friend about recently (it was actually prompted by a discussion of the economics of corn, corn-subsidies and that favorite subject of nutrition-geeks: high fructose corn syrup.)

    The irony is that for one of the first times in history – at least in the West – getting raw calories is cheaper than ever. Think about it. Some of the least expensive food is actually extremely calorie dense: candy bars, fast food and junk food. You can get a supersized combo at Mickey Dees for under $5 dollars and consume more than half of your daily energy requirements in that one meal.

    Candy bars and soda are another example, thanks to that low-cost, high-calorie sweetener beloved by Iowa corn growers (along with ethanol): high fructose corn syrup. HFCS is in nearly everything because it’s an inexpensive source of sugar — much cheaper than honey or cane sugar. And because it’s so inexpensive, manufacturers can use more of it. Indeed, vast amounts of the corn surplus the government subsidizes each year is converted into HFCS, which then, interestingly enough, finds its way into the Government-sponsored school lunch program (chocolate pudding, anyone?)

    Even a bag of potatos, which is about as calorie dense as any whole food, is less than $5 on sale.

    What HAS gotten more expensive are foods that are minimally-processed or not raised using the modern methods for boosting yeild and size — methods like growth hormones, pesticides and non-organic fertilizers. There is a reason farmers and livestock companies use these chemicals — they increase yields and drive down the cost for consumers.

    So it’s really less a question of would you pay more for less calories (since in reality, with the typical American diet, it’s actually the opposite), but would you pay more for foods that were less processed, or were raised without the methods that allow farmers and manufacturers to sell them inexpensively at the grocery store?

    Empty calories are still dirt cheap, it’s nutrient-dense, organic foods that have become expensive. And, of course, this is why certain foods were more scarce 100 years ago, before the advent of chemical fertilizers and herbicides.

    Of course, if you really wanted to eat whole foods cheaply you’d just grow them yourself. It’s not that hard.

    Great topic.

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