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March 09, 2011

What is the Cost of Eating Healthy Foods?

By Mark Sisson
286 Comments

A couple years back I highlighted a Time Magazine photo essay called “What the World Eats.” It was a fascinating visual comparison of what – and how much – representative families across the globe consumed in a given week. (Several obliging MDA readers later shared photos of their own rations.) Revealing on yet another level, the Time feature included the cost of each international family’s provisions. Expenses varied radically as you can imagine with weekly expenditures ranging from $1.23 in Chad to more than $500 in Germany. The three American families, incidentally, reported spending $159 (California), $242 (Texas), and $342 (North Carolina) each. With the talk about rising food prices looming in the headlines again, I found myself thinking about Primal food costs. Is anyone seeing the jump yet? Are Primal folks more or less affected by these periodic fluctuations? Do we, as a Primal group, really spend more than the average American on our food?

As many experts and commentators have noted over the years, Americans as a whole actually spend less on food than any other country when it comes to percentage of income. In the U.S., our average food expenses constitute about 9-12% of our income (depending on the source (1 (PDF), 2, 3) you consult). In 1949, it was 22%.

By contrast, much of Western Europe today devotes 14-17%+ of their total household budget to food. In Pakistan, families spend an average of 46% of their income on food.

On top of this, there’s the breakdown of food spent for “at-home” consumption (i.e. groceries) versus “away” (i.e. restaurants, fast food). Of the roughly 10% of income Americans spend on food, more than 40% is spent eating out (PDF). (In Belgium, for example, that number is 25%.) That means a mere 6% of our income is spent on the weekly supermarket/farmers’ market haul. When you look at it this way, we see that average at-home food costs are roughly equal to average health care costs, utilities, entertainment costs, and vehicle purchases costs. That’s not combined, folks.

A few more facts? (PDF) The groups that spend the most on food per person are the most affluent households, one-person households, and older households (55-64). (Probably no surprises there.) Among the groups that spend the least are households headed by single mothers. Larger households and those with kids spend less per person, and smaller households spend more eating out. Northeasterns and Westerners spend more on food (both total food expenditure and eating out costs) than Midwesterners and considerably more (especially in terms of at-home food) than Southerners. Affluent homes devote a lower percentage of their (more substantial) income on at-home food but a higher percentage on eating out than lower income and middle income homes.

More income, however, doesn’t necessarily translate into better food purchased. Although the amount spent on items like eggs, pork, and vegetables rose in higher income homes in Belgium, for example, in the U.S. the items prioritized with increased income were fish, cheese, and sweets. In another international comparison, higher incomes in the U.S. were associated with a higher percentage of the budget spent eating out, whereas “away” food expenses stayed fairly level as income rose in Belgian households. (PDF)

The information, I think, opens the door for a million questions and observations. Today, however, I’m interested in how the Primal community compares to the average American when it comes to expenses. The University of Iowa Extension Program offers a calculator that tells you how much you should spend on food to achieve the USDA’s Low Cost Food Plan (their version (PDF) of nutritious of course). (The department also offers calculators for “moderate” and “liberal” eating plans.) Doing the calculation for a “typical” four person family with two teenagers at home and no meals out, my number came up at about $815 per month. Does a good Primal bounty exceed the USDA’s low cost estimate?

Let’s do our own bit of informal research here. (The polls are completely anonymous.)

[poll id=”25″]

[poll id=”26″]

Finally, I’d love to hear your other thoughts. What’s your thinking on the income percentage picture? How do you work it? I know Primal folks bring a lot of creativity to the table when it comes to foraging for the best deals (as well as the best nutrition). How much does resourcefulness save? Have you gotten thriftier over time, or have you consciously increased your outlay for food as you’ve travelled down the Primal road, so to speak? I’ll look forward to reading your feedback. Thanks for reading today.

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286 Comments on "What is the Cost of Eating Healthy Foods?"

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Neal
5 years 6 months ago

Rising food prices have definitely been noticed at my farmer’s market. Ground bison used to go for $4.99/lb 6 months ago, and now it is $8.49/lb. Pork and beef have seen similar, but less dramatic increases. Chicken hasn’t risen in price (yet).

Dave Fish
5 years 6 months ago

I suspect the increase in the cost of bison is due more to demand than production costs. I’ve read that bison has become wildly popular. I haven’t seen similar increases in pork or beef in my area. I like bison but I won’t pay the premium for it.

Kyle
Kyle
5 years 6 months ago

It is because of the demand and the way they are raised. Because bison don’t eat corn and aren’t fed hormones etc like cows they take longer to grow to full size bison. And they can’t slaughter the females right now because they need them for reproduction. So there is going to be about a 5 year gap in production. It sucks but they have to do it this way in order to catch up with the demand.

Kyle
Kyle
5 years 6 months ago

We had to cut bison out of our diet. We eat it maybe once a month now.

Primal Toad
5 years 6 months ago

You are all so damn lucky to have the opportunity to buy bison. I wish it was available at my farmers market! I do have the opportunity to get lamb, rabbit and of course the other popular animals though.

I have had bison a few times and its awesome.

Wes
Wes
5 years 6 months ago

My local grocery store (Martin’s and Kroger in Richmond, VA) both carry ground bison packages. It’s pretty good and not all that expensive.

kristin
kristin
5 years 6 months ago

We definitely spend more on groceries than we did before going primal, but we make up for it by eating out less. With so much great food in the house (and fewer fast food cravings), we’re just not as excited to go out as we used to be! In eating in and eating out, we’ve moved toward spending more on better quality food that we need less of.

James
James
5 years 6 months ago

Completely agree with this post. Yes, buying large grass fed lamb/pork/beef joints is expensive, but they last ages and taste great, so great in fact that I no longer have the urge for the weekly take away and fast food treat. Overall I would say its beginning to balance out.

Graham
5 years 6 months ago
I try to keep costs low by buying directly from farmers (30 lbs of grass fed beef for $140 last week! I wonder if HIS prices will go up?), but I don’t always plan perfectly and the grocery store is expensive if you want the good stuff. Buying herbs and spices in BULK definitely helped me cut costs. I spend about $500 a month on food for myself (I live alone) while only going out for 1-2 meals (and only when I have to due to social reasons). Also – every 8 weeks or so, I spend probably $100 on… Read more »
Dana
Dana
5 years 6 months ago
Herbs are a rip-off. The fresh ones in the grocery store are way overpriced, and the dried ones are probably several years old by the time you buy them. I say this judging by the color. I have grown herbs off and on in my adult life, and never are they that faded and dull looking when you dry them. Bay leaves are the worst. I’ve also had a live bay tree before, and even when the leaves are dried they are dark green and almost glossy. (And bay trees are so much fun to prune! Mmmmm the smell! I… Read more »
Nancy
Nancy
5 years 6 months ago

Great point, Dana. I’ll go a step further and encourage people to carve out a patch of ground for some veggies going into spring/summer. Lettuce, spinach, swiss chard are all great greens that take very little space and effort. These can add up $$ at the grocery. Plan and maybe even plant now (zone dependent). Doesn’t get any better!

Dana
5 years 6 months ago

I’ve always wanted to start an herb and veggie garden! I don’t really have a good set-up for it now though.

Mmmm....
Mmmm....
5 years 6 months ago
I just voted in this poll. Here are my personal data points: My organic & local CSA box comes out to $140/month, and our grass-fed meat expenditures are roughly $400/month. I probably spend another $100-200 on other foods like wine, spices, etc. This range of expenditures comes out to roughly 8% of my gross monthly income (I am an engineer). The household is myself and my boyfriend. We both do Crossfit 2-3x/wk. We normally eat out Fri dinner, Sat lunch & dinner (we usually are out skiing on Saturdays) & Sunday lunch. I usually grow a portion of my own… Read more »
shannon
shannon
5 years 6 months ago
I know exactly how much we spend per month, because of my records in Quicken. Last year we averaged about $340/month/person. We started the PB in January of last year. According to my records, this is actually slightly less than we spent before we went primal, but only about $10 less per month. So, I guess it has not cost us anything to be healthier! I spend a lot less money on food when I am at my farm, because I can grow a lot of vegetables and fruit, and the local meat is cheaper. It is not completely grass-fed… Read more »
shannon
shannon
5 years 6 months ago

Ok, I re-checked my figures and it turns out I made a little mistake using the spending cloud in Quicken.

In 2009 before we went primal we spent $317/person/month.

In 2010 after I went primal (but my partner had not yet), we spend $340/month/person. Not a huge jump. And some of that could be due to inflation in food prices.

shannon
shannon
5 years 6 months ago
Ok, Quicken just informed me that I don’t actually spend less money on food during the summer, except during the month of June. The reason is that I buy a lot of fruit at the farmer’s market for preserving. (There is not much fruit available yet in June; it peaks in July.) I pick a lot of blueberries at a farm for freezing, and I buy peaches for canning. So really, although the cost of daily food goes down in the summer, food expenditures stay the same because of “stocking up.” I think to get an idea of your monthly… Read more »
Joe
Joe
5 years 6 months ago

I’d have to say yes, in general, eating primal foods will cost more, but the difference in price is worth it when one considers the difference in nutritional value.

A can of coconut milk will cost me more than a loaf of bread, but I’ll pick the coconut milk every time and make sacrifices elsewhere

Sandy
Sandy
5 years 6 months ago
I could save a lot more than I do if I bought more in bulk, online, etc . . . But at the moment I’m in a tiny apartment with little storage space. I also don’t have a problem spending more on quality food. After living in the Netherlands for 10 years, where the cost of food is considerably higher, I’m used to paying more. It’s also just my boyfriend and me, so we can afford it. He eats lunches 4-5 days a week out, but I rarely if ever go to restaurants, so it evens out a bit.
Jim Arkus
5 years 6 months ago

I used to spend about $30 a week on food before going Primal. Then it went up to $35-40. Now I spend around $50, but the only reason for that is I’m trying to put on some more muscle, so the meat consumption has gone way up!

Robin
5 years 6 months ago

Food used to be 58% of my income, now it’s about 50%, so eating primal has saved me a little bit but I’ve eaten out less and eaten less in general since the foods I’m eating are more filling.
My income is very low but the rest of my expenses are pretty low as well. We live rent free by doing maintenance and grounds keeping to pay our way. Right now my boyfriend is out in the rain fixing the tractor! LOL!

Chowstalker
5 years 6 months ago

We spend about $400/person…maybe a bit more than before going primal (which was officially one year ago today!) but the quality of food has gone way up. And we have had zero medical bills, prescriptions, etc.

Nicole
Nicole
5 years 6 months ago

That is such a good point. The prescription meds I’ve been able to go off since going primal has saved a big chunk, and the doctors and hospital bills are officially paid off and for once, not being adding to! Our food bill hasn’t gone up much, but these other savings are helpful – and encouraging.

Chris
Chris
5 years 6 months ago

Food prices are rising due to the devaluing of the fiat currencies. Read The Creature from Jekyll island or watch Money as debt.

shz
shz
5 years 6 months ago

I spend something like ~$400 a month on myself, but it’s tough to tell recently with work being so busy and me eating out a lot more than I should.

Plus the NYC price premium is ginormous. Unavoidable.

Christine
5 years 6 months ago

My husband and I spend roughly $300 a month per person on food. We buy our pork and beef right from the farmer, and in the summer we join a CSA and freeze half the vegetables so we have them fresh through the winter as well as in the summer.

This is quite a bit less then I used to spend before. I was on Weight Watchers before I found MDA and because of that, I was buying all low-fat or WW foods that you pay an arm and a leg extra for.

Christine
5 years 6 months ago

Just to compare I’m on the east coast of Canada as well.

Michal
Michal
5 years 6 months ago

I find that my favorite cheap foods are, eggs, liver, cheap cuts of pork, whole chickens. These are all rich in calories and protein and in the case of liver and eggs, nutrients, making then an ideal food that will keep you satisfied. Also I find that eating less vegetables can save money. When eating foods like this intermittent dating becomes easy and appetite decreases. Plain old eating less can save money.

single
single
5 years 6 months ago

The typo in this comment made me laugh.

Dating definitely affects the amount of money that I spend on food. Even money spent per individual goes up as leftovers aren’t generally accepted as date food.

Buttercup
Buttercup
5 years 6 months ago

I don’t have any recent figures, but I know before we went Primal we spent between $800-$900 a month on groceries for two. It would be pretty difficult to figure it out now since I have so many sources: Co-op, Farmers’ Market, online direct to source ordering, a little garage where I leave money in an envelope for olive oil. But I imagine it’s not much more than that now, although I’m curious.
If anyone’s interested, I talked about the global implications of food prices and what it means for us at my blog: http://paleoperiodical.com/2011/02/28/rising-food-prices-what-does-it-mean-for-paleo-folks/

Andy
Andy
5 years 6 months ago

I had done the atkins a while back and did very well on it. I went for a multi year carb slide and am now doing Primal and new at it. Already I am saving money. 1 now cooking almost all meals. 2 not eating a 4 dollar bag of cookies, eating less because one pice of chicken and a ton of Brussels is enough. Having said that I am shocked at the price of some produce and going to Whole foods makes my head spin they will sell the same item as TJ’s for 1/3 more because they can.

deb b
deb b
5 years 6 months ago

Yes, this seems like straight out corporate greed – the same pate at TJ cost double at WF in Florida (there are no TJ there).

John
John
5 years 6 months ago

It’s not “corporate greed” but rather “lack of competition” that allows Whole Paycheck … I mean Whole Foods … to overcharge.

Dana
Dana
5 years 6 months ago

Which comes from corporate greed because WF used to have competition and they drove them out of business.

Large corporations are incompatible with a free market. Period.

Diane the Purple
Diane the Purple
5 years 6 months ago

There are TJ where I live, and stuff still costs twice as much at WF. You’re paying for the big fancy store and the atmosphere, as well as a much larger and more stable selection. TJ’s is great but it’s so vexing when they stop carrying great items completely at random.

ennasirk
ennasirk
5 years 6 months ago
I was at a small dinner party with friends last summer, including a friend who is originally from Ireland but lives in Australia. The rest of us were born-and-raised in the U.S. The hostess had picked up the ground beef for the burgers from a local ranch (grass fed) and most of the rest at her local farmer’s market. We got into a discussion of food, food sourcing, costs, deals, etc. Our friend from Australia made a comment about that, saying something along the lines of “But it’s not like it’s a hardship for any of you to spend more… Read more »
Aimee
Aimee
5 years 6 months ago

Very good point and extremely well delivered!

Tony
Tony
5 years 6 months ago

Yes, spend more on food and less on health and medical expenses. This is the plan. It’s been working great so far and can only be more of a good investment as I continue to get older!

Getting a measure of this food/medical expense ratio would provide more context to our potentially increased spending on food.

Diane the Purple
Diane the Purple
5 years 6 months ago

What a great observation! How did your other friends react to it? 🙂

I’ve lived in the UK and the US. Relatively speaking, everything in the US is dirt cheap, but everyone here seems to complain so much when the price of anything goes up! I don’t get it.

Bevie
Bevie
5 years 6 months ago

We get used to a price being what it is and rarely actually think about why it changes, just get offended that it does. Human nature i’m afraid, not just Americans. People elsewhere would do that too if they were used to things being cheap and suddenly they weren’t.

Sharon
Sharon
5 years 6 months ago
I agree with the expensive prices in Australia. Our dollar is sitting at parity with the US dollar, and yet food costs are so much higher down here. But – I think we have great quality and I am happy to spend on food. I currently spend about 25% of our income on food for our family of 5. Our income should go up soon, but our food consumption should stay similar so that will take a bit of pressure off. We drink 15 Litres of raw milk a week that I get for free – imagine if I added… Read more »
Nenad
Nenad
2 years 6 months ago

I can barely afford it, but it’s worth it. Food for the two of us is about 35% of my income. I hope that going primal will actually cut costs due to the fact that I am always buying $10-15 lunches trying to adhere to a somewhat healthy diet. $8 at Mcdonalds just doesn’t cut it for me. But I agree. Maybe the health costs will compensate for a possible increase in price. And thank you for not feeding your cat wal-mart trash. It means a lot when people think of their pets too.

EvansMama
EvansMama
5 years 6 months ago

I spend about $400/person right now, BUT we are new to primal and still working out the expenditures. This is expected to go down. Two in our family are not fully primal also, that adds to the cost of food a little. We don’t eat out but 1-2 times/month. Who can afford to?

Julia
5 years 6 months ago
I do spend quite a bit on groceries, but I’m spending a LOT less on booze than I used to! Also doing better with less restaurant meals, and I do believe I am making an investment in my health that will result in less doctor bills in the future. To get the most bang for my buck, I do take care to find the best sources for my groceries- I order coconut oil and supplements from Amazon & pastured meats in bulk from Vermont, I get some good bacon and kerrygold cheese at BJs, cheap eggs and produce from a… Read more »
Primal Toad
5 years 6 months ago
This is how its done! Cut down on the booze, or don’t drink at all, buy as much food as you can from Amazon – all coconut products for the most part. Become a member at Costco and shop their often as well. Look for meat at the supermarket that is about to expire. I once bought 6 24 oz packages of wild alaskan salmon for about $4.50 per lb! Eat a lot of eggs if you an handle them since its one of the cheapest foods on the planet. Avocados and nuts are also pretty cheap. Buy frozen veggies… Read more »
Jules
5 years 6 months ago

Yes I am grateful I don’t have an egg allergy; I’d be screwed!

SJ
SJ
5 years 6 months ago

Thanks for the info. I’m still trying to go Primal; but studies like this make me realize it’s more do-able than I thought.

SJ
SJ
5 years 6 months ago

btw… we spend about $150 per person currently and eat out 3 times a week (breakfast or lunch, rarely dinner because homemade is just better)

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 6 months ago

very interesting. I come from a european family where 60% of my father’s income was spend on organic food! Me and the gf follow suit.. we are both students but what we dont spend on electricity, gas, travel, rent than its spend on food. not nice having nothing left over but we realise the obvious benefits of eating healthy and organic.

Steven
Steven
5 years 6 months ago
Since going Caveman on my food, I’ve actually noticed a decrease in my monthly grocery costs. I attribute this to: (1) less spending on commodity foods; (2) making all my own meals; (3) reducing meat costs by hunting, trading with fellow hunters or purchasing direct from the butcher shop; (4) only buying foods that are in season. But I think the real clincher is less money spent on commodities. Commodity foods – i.e. corn, soybeans, and sugar – soar during economic instability. Fruit prices rise as well. But unless there is a corresponding drought or famine, vegetable and meat prices… Read more »
Brian
Brian
5 years 6 months ago

While the reports may be suggesting that food prices are on the rise, take a careful look at what sorts of things they’re calling food. You’ll probably find that the biggest price jumps are coming from corn, wheat, rice, dairy, and grain-fed livestock. Very non-Primal type foods. So Primal may not be getting any cheaper, but as the prices of grains and non-Primal “food” continue to rise, expect more people to look for ways to completely cut these sorts of things out of their diet.

Ben
Ben
5 years 6 months ago

This is a good article on the subject:
http://www.westonaprice.org/news/1410.html

Bodhi
5 years 6 months ago

I spent about $500 a month per person. We eat out 2 times a week.

Arrowyn
Arrowyn
5 years 6 months ago
I actually spend less money since going partially primal. It seems outrageous for individual items but in the end I spend less when I am not buying any processed food. I’ve traded quantity for quality. Farmer’s markets definitely end up being cheaper…but that might be because you are limited to what is offered and so it’s easy to stay on budget 🙂 I eat like a king but on only about $160–$200 per month. And I’m not even trying to be frugal! I’ve also found that since I have become a more discriminating eater I can’t barely stand eating out,… Read more »
Zusiqu
Zusiqu
5 years 6 months ago

Our household of 2 spends roughly $500 a month on food. We rarely go to restaurants and I have really developed my cooking skills over the past few years. The cost of food doesn’t consider the related health care costs and maybe it should. People who eat ‘fillers’ and don’t focus on nutrition will have higher health care costs as a general rule. And, as a general rule, the inverse is also true.

Caroline
Caroline
5 years 6 months ago
Checking on my budget spreadsheet, and it looks like we spend about $350/person on food each month. For the 2 humans in our household. Another $75/month for the furry folk. Breaks down to: Grassfed meat, pastured eggs, & raw dairy from my farmer = $250 Veggies, nuts, cheese, coffee, tea, etc…from TJ’s, Whole Foods, or the regular grocery store = $450 Figuring that out makes me think “what have I been spending that much money on?” But I have the tendancy to just buy what I want when I want to make whatever I feel like making. I think I… Read more »
charlie
charlie
5 years 6 months ago
Positive for primal: lack of processed food saves money. Cheaper cuts on meat. Better technique: use bacon, cook and save fat. More effective leftover usage. Better when cooking in bulk for multiple people. Negatives: from a cash flow, I spend more each time I visit. For instance, I want a big cobb salad right now, but I would have to buy everything (spinach, avocado, bacon, chicken, etc). Or I can run down the street to Cheesecake factory and get one for about $15. Throw in the time for shopping, and cheesecake factory will win. Primal shopping for one is tough.… Read more »
DeeDee
DeeDee
5 years 6 months ago

My food costs definitely went up when I started going Primal, because I started buying meat. Holy smokes! I had no idea how expensive it was.

Kira
Kira
5 years 6 months ago
My husband and I definitely spend more on grocercies than we used to, and I have learned over the last year and a half of being primal how to cut costs (we will make one meal and eat it for 2 nights, or take leftovers for lunch the next day). We have also learned that not buying a wide variety of food all in one trip helps save money. If I buy brocolli, we eat that all week as a veggie, and we normally always make enough for 2 meals, so we never just eat something once during the week.… Read more »
Mary
Mary
5 years 6 months ago

We spend 350 a month per person on average…. that includes all produce, meat, spices, and supplements. We don’t eat out much unless it is purely for social reasons, we don’t order pizza or fast foods.

We spent about the same before going primal, but the focus was on cereals, snack foods and other “food products”.

Anthony Giametta
5 years 6 months ago
I, too, feel the effects of the costs of being primal, but eating primally always has done my body great service, which you can’t put a price on. The products that Mark sells are an amazing compliment to the diet, but after years of paying for the DCMF on a part-time salary, I have finally felt its effects on the wallet. As a 22-year old college student, looking to be financially independent, I lose. I have had to choose between supplementation and a true primal diet. I chose the primal diet as it is redundant to eat Taco Bell Meat… Read more »
Adam
Adam
5 years 6 months ago

My wife and I typically spend $280 every two weeks on groceries. This also includes non-food items. Because of rising fuel prices, I am planting a 4’X4′ garden in our backyard to lower our produce costs. If only the HOA allowed goats and chickens!

Peggy
Peggy
5 years 6 months ago

some of my meals I eat “away” are my shift meals I cook myself whilst working in a restaurant…
Actually I hardly ever eat in my own home as my SO is non-primal & has a hard time grasping the concept. i buy almost all my own food & keep it at my primary job & cook in the toaster oven. I’m only home 2 or 3 nights for dinner & am seldom hungry at that time…
I would have to rough guess maybe $200 a month? I did just pay for my summer CSA also.

Abigail
Abigail
5 years 6 months ago
I find the American responses interesting, in the UK our tax has just increased to 20% which has increased food prices a great deal. That, together with petrol costing over £2.30 a litre (thats just under £12 a gallon)which has increased the transportation costs of our food. The irony is that out of the increase in foods, fresh veggies and meat has probably increased the most. If I could live on over chips and white bread it wouldn’t be so bad. For ethical reasons I buy organic free range meat anyway, but I can expect to pay £15 ($24)for a… Read more »
minervacious
minervacious
5 years 6 months ago

surely there is no vat on food. only vat on luxury items like chocolates, booze etc

Yvette
Yvette
5 years 6 months ago

There is no VAT on staple foods like bread, milk, mielie meal and most fresh vegetables but there is VAT (14%)on everything else.

salim
5 years 6 months ago

i think in US vegetable prices are quite high. I always find good deals on the meat and stock it in fridge. But winter time the veggies goes super high and i eat veggies more than meat. summer time overall food costs decrease a lot. cooking home with decent amount veggies and meat cost $2-3 per meal per person and you eat better than a plate in restraurant costs $10-15. it is even cheaper than sandwiches. So Overall go primal

Blakery
Blakery
5 years 6 months ago

Bah! I thought the poll was still talking about weekly expenditures, as above. I selected $75 when I should have selected $250.

barb
barb
5 years 6 months ago
wow – i am spending too much – around 350-400 per person per month on mostly conventional stuff!! – currently buying antibiotic free meats (chicken, beef and occasionally pork and all usually on sale) organic cream, pasture butter, free range local eggs and some organic veggies, some conventional – can’t afford the grass fed meat from either store or local meat farmers. It averages out to about 8 bucks a lb. The closest TJs is an hour away and now gas comes into play with going there…. i am pretty frugal, shop sales, go to multiple stores, use economical veggies… Read more »
Momto3
Momto3
5 years 6 months ago

We live in California. Family of 5 (1 infant so I calculated for 4 people)
Pre-primal average: at home food: $222/person
Primal: at home: $280/person
Pre-primal away eating: $77/person
Primal: $42/person

Total Food Cost % of Income: 7.5%

Total food costs for us has gone up by $23. Not bad considering all the wonderful benefits we have gained by going primal.

Momto3
Momto3
5 years 6 months ago

I miss calculated the %, it’s actually 30% of our budget. Sorry, I posted a second time below…trouble with computer.

Kim
Kim
5 years 6 months ago

I ran that calculator and it says $103/week but since going primal we spend ALOT less on food every week. I spend $50-$60 per week on really good food and have no problem getting through the week easily.

Abigail
Abigail
5 years 6 months ago
I have always eaten mostly within the principals of Primal, as a family we eat lots of veggies and meat. Unfortunately I have always bought meat that is organic and free range for ethical reasons and they are rather expensive. We will pay about £15 for a chicken ($24) which means we eat less meat and a lot more veggies. Even now though vegetables are very expensive, this has something to do with the tax increase in the UK to 20% and the price of fuel (£2.30 a litre). I grow my own in the summer season and I tend… Read more »
barb
barb
5 years 6 months ago
wow – i am missing something – i spend about 400/mo/p and its nearly all conventional stuff!! I buy antibiotic free meats on sale, organic dairy, free range local eggs, a mix of organic and conventional veggies and fruit. Grass meat from either store or local farms here avgs 8 bucks a lb. The nearest TJs is 1 hour away and gas at nearly 4 bucks a gallon is making that trip less reasonable….we eat out maybe 2 times a month and its usually lunch so not expensive. I use frugal foods like cabbage etc alot. i shop up to… Read more »
Momto3
Momto3
5 years 6 months ago

We live in California. Family of 5 (1 infant so I calculated for 4 people)
Pre-primal at home food: $222/person
Primal at home food: $280/person
Pre-primal away food: $77/person
Primal away food: $42/person

Total Food Cost per person: $322
% of income towards food: 30%

Since going primal (9 months ago) our food costs have gone up $23/person/month

But we have gained energy,health and a lot more fun.

Karen
Karen
5 years 6 months ago

Our grocery bill makes up about 20% of our income and I feel like it’s a good investment in ourselves and especially our kids. We also do our best to buy organic as much as possible which certainly adds to the cost but add to my peace of mind.
I’ve been buying in bulk more often as a result of higher food prices on fresh foods. Being in a co-op and having a home garden, including berry bushes also helps a lot.

Patrick
5 years 6 months ago

I think on a monthly basis I spend about $250-300 dollars on food alone, but now these days I hardly go out to eat, which means that I consume high quality food and mainting optimal health levels. I have noticed this year that produce and meat has gone up in prices by a good amount, which was kind of shocking, yet all of the processed food stayed the same. It sucks, but I’m glad that I changed my eating ways or else i don’t think I would ever feel this way today.

Grace
Grace
5 years 6 months ago

Currently my husband and I are doing the Whole 30 Challenge by Whole 9. We live in the DC area (pretty pricey cost of living). I spend $100 per person a week. This includes 10 meals, 7 breakfasts, and 1-2 snacks a day. Not too shabby!

Tip: Make enough dinner to eat for lunch the next day. Saves money and time!

Steve
Steve
5 years 6 months ago

I think its BS that majority say they eat out JUST 1-2 times per month. That would include any meal like a salad for lunch, paleo/primal snack, etc. I dont believe it. Its not just trips per month to Outback Steakhouse.

Angela Quattrano
5 years 6 months ago

I am gluten-free, and I work in the home. It is a rare month I eat even one meal out.

Before going gluten-free, I used to eat out frequently, but I always packed a lunch. If the food I can get out isn’t better than what I can make at home, I wouldn’t at all.

bix
bix
5 years 6 months ago

For 2011 so far, $400-450 a month including a vegetable CSA box ($25 every other week) and $50/mo on other farmer’s market expenses. I live with my boyfriend who is not primal but usually eats whatever I make for dinner, and I do not buy any non-primal food for him anymore. We are both students working full time with separate expenses and bank accounts…pre-primal could get up to $600 some months on junk food, bars, restaurants, etc.

Henry
Henry
5 years 6 months ago
Adult male living alone: Before going primal I was averaging $393 per month on groceries. Since going primal that has dropped to $315 but I’m a bit surprised by that figure since I’m buying organic. This is roughly 5% of my income. Before going primal I was eating out 1-2 times per week and now I eat out about 1-2 times per month so I’m actually spending about $100 less overall on eating than I used to. I’m quite pleasantly surprised by all that. Prior to doing these calculations I was entirely unaware of what % of my income was… Read more »
Rachel
Rachel
5 years 6 months ago

I’m a single mom with a preteen daughter…I just started eating Primal again on March 1. I do believe that I spend more more on primal foods because quality meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables are more expensive.

I was spending a lot of money on gluten free processed foods before I started eating this way, so I may save some money in the long run.

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