Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
9 Mar

What is the Cost of Eating Healthy Foods?

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.)

Approximately how much do you spend on at-home groceries (counting CSAs, meat shares, etc.) per month per person in your household?

View Results

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Additionally, how many meals, would you say, do you eat away from home each month?

View Results

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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.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. 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 to buy from the Indian supermarket as they are less expensive than the regular supermarkets.

    Abigail wrote on March 9th, 2011
  2. 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 4 stores following sales, bargains I make meal plans, i make planned leftovers- what am I missing??

    barb wrote on March 9th, 2011
  3. 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.

    Momto3 wrote on March 9th, 2011
  4. 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.

    Karen wrote on March 9th, 2011
  5. 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.

    Patrick wrote on March 9th, 2011
  6. 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!

    Grace wrote on March 9th, 2011
  7. 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.

    Steve wrote on March 9th, 2011
    • 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.

      Angela Quattrano wrote on March 10th, 2011
  8. 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.

    bix wrote on March 9th, 2011
  9. 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 going to food.

    Henry wrote on March 9th, 2011
  10. 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.

    Rachel wrote on March 9th, 2011
  11. I make $1150/month net right now.
    My rent is $625
    Other utilities like phone is $110

    That leaves $415 to feed two people.(as long as nothing bad happens like my carpool gets sick and I have to bus)

    We only make it through by the grace of friends who donate “extra” food they have.

    Food should be cheaper just so everyone can eat.

    Willow Nyteeyes wrote on March 9th, 2011
  12. help – i am spending too much – more than 400 per person per month and thats all conventional antibiotic free meats on sale, organic dairy, local eggs, organic and conventional veggies – grass fed local meat avgs 8 bucks a lb here in store or local farm. I use economical stuff – cabbage etc buy on sale, shop multiple stores, meal plan, make planned leftovers etc we rarely eat out btw the closest TJs is an hour away…recent gas prices make that trip less economical….what can i do to get to that $250/p group???

    barb wrote on March 9th, 2011
  13. I don’t know if I eat primal or not, since I just found this web site a couple of weeks ago, and I’m in the middle of reading the book. But at the urging of my trainer, I switched to a whole foods, low carb (average 37.8 grams per day, according to Fitday) since last August. I’m probably not primal because I spend a couple hundred dollars a month on Crossfit and a trainer. My wife does not follow a similar life plan, lots of sodas, high carb snacks and food. So we spend around $600 per month on both types of food. Therefore, it’s hard to compare costs. But, even if it’s more to eat whole, how much does a quadruple by-pass cost? Or, death?

    Bull wrote on March 9th, 2011
  14. In Nova Scotia prices are high and increasing further. Just an example a head of conventionally grown romaine is 3.99. Yes I think there is gold in it and yes I still buy it.

    I’m working on keeping my individual food budget to 465.00 per month and I don’t eat out.

    Compared to many friends where I live they think my food cost is excessive. They spend about half and don’t take into consideration all the Tim Hortons (coffee & donuts etc) as well as other restaurant food. They also don’t factor in all the over the counter or perscriptions. It would have to be extreme for me to use those.

    Hippocrates famous quotes is “Thy Food Shall Be Thy Medicine.”

    I say pay now or pay later.

    Pat wrote on March 9th, 2011
  15. My family isn’t fully primal, but with the two of us, my toddler, and newborn, we have a monthly budget of about $300 for groceries. I can actually make this happen by shopping at Costco for most of my groceries. Their Organic selection keeps getting better, and their prices can’t be beat! I can’t wait for them to carry grass-fed beef, but for now the organic ground beef will have to suffice.

    My family has no budget for eating out, yet it happens anyways. Right now I think we have it down to $200-ish a month.

    At a total food cost of $600 (I added an extra hundred because I tend to not add my incidental trips for milk and veggies) this is 20% of our take-home income. We live in California.

    Sara wrote on March 9th, 2011
  16. this whole hype about “rising food costs” – well – food costs have been shoved so artificially low by our industrial farming of junk that they HAVE to go up if we are to get any quality back in the food supply –

    Thanks Mark for highlighting this – it’s *extremely* important that people get a perspective on this food-cost thing – we are eating SO MUCH CHEAPER (with a matching level of cheap quality) than any time in the last 100+ years – and this is NOT a good thing – last month i did a post on this very issue urging people to understand that they cannot get real quality on the cheap (you GET what you PAY for) (as we are growers and KNOW the costs of good organic fare) (Re-Thinking the Appropriate Cost OF Food)

    i have a little cutworm problem in my greens in the greenhouse right now – the conventional chemical controls cost about $12, organic-but-not-OMRI-approved controls cost $26 and what did i end up paiying for all organic-OMRI approved controls for this nasty little caterpillar pillaging my chard? $58.00

    Please everyone get a clue – pesticide free (or safe organic ones) herbicide free good organic fare, meat or veg – COSTS TO PRODUCE!

    DaiaRavi wrote on March 9th, 2011
  17. I spend on average $100 per month on pastured eggs, raw milk and raw milk cheese. (but this factors in a 2qt per week of kefir production for some family members.)
    $120/month on pasture raised meats, organs, fat, and bones from the farm
    $80/month on vegetables/salt/beans/legumes.

    SO about $200 total for myself. And that is with me NOT using all the meat and animal products i buy each month. That is what i spend.. it is not what i consume each month. I always have left over cuts of meat/ bones/ fat/organs from the month prior’s purchase.

    I eat out about 6xs/month. -Yes you can still eat clean and have a social life! LOL

    I think the issue with food prices is the fact that people do not understand how to USE an animal or animal products. They are also spending their money on the WRONG things which is mostly foods that are devoid of nutrients. SO they have to eat and buy more in order to even come close to be satisfied by their nutrient intake. For example: The bones (with marrow and joints or the whole carcass as with fowl) should be slow boiled for hours to extract the nutrients and marrow and to soften the cartilage and connective tissues to eat them. A split marrow bone and one cut beef joint is enough to make two-three batches of broth- about a gallon each. From this you can make stews, soups, or drink it by itself. 1 whole broiler chicken makes two 5-quart pots of soup that is full of meat. and you could probably stretch the meat into three big pots of soup and be totally fine. 1- $10 chicken + $5 veggies/herbs/salt = SEVERAL meals. So meals for a week only cost $15-$20. average of 14 meals is just over $1 per meal. How awesome is that!? Not every meal ends up being that inexpensive…but consider there is much more that people can do to lower their food costs (and subsequent energy costs) even by cooking all their meals from scratch.

    Raw milk is used to make kefir, and whey in order to do other ferments.. or to make my own butter. I also drink it.

    Most vegetables end up fermented and the others are parts of a meal.

    what people fail to realize is that it is NOT the QUANTITY of the food (or the amount of calories) that matters but the nutrient density that matters. Your body doesn’t get hungry for calories it is starved for NUTRIENTS. If you focus on having a certain percentage of this that or the other every day….. your costs are going to sky rocket. HOWEVER, if you focus on making each meal as nutrient dense as possible, you save money.

    I do not buy canned foods or pre-made foods. I do a lot of seasonal eating. I don’t waste my money on berries and fruit or specific vegetables when they are out of season. They are more costly out of season and have fewer nutrients and often just taste bad.

    Eating “primal” or true “traditional” requires using our noggins and doing what is not only MOST healthy but it also requires for it to be economical with our financial resources and energy/time.

    Elizabeth wrote on March 9th, 2011
  18. We spend about $400 per person for a family
    of five. We go through a lot of meat, eggs,
    nut butters, organic produce from Whole Foods
    or the farmer’s market and tons of coconut and
    olive oil. We eat out about twice a year, at best,
    but do have our friends over for meals quite often. My kids really enjoy their food and eat
    a lot. My husband and I feel that good quality
    food is worth the premium that you inevitably
    have to pay for it. I don’t want my kids to grow
    up eating unhealthy food like I did.

    Sabrina wrote on March 9th, 2011
  19. 17% of my income (after taxes) goes towards food. I might take my family out to eat 2-3 times a month. I shop mostly at Henry’s and TJs. 25% goes towards rent, 17% towards car, 7% towards commuting, 8% towards paying off debt (student loans, revolving credit), 5-10% towards utilities and miscellaneous, the rest is tied up in investments and cash (roughly 33-38%). Me and my family live a fairly minimalistic lifestyle (outside the commuting). The rise in prices has certainly taken a chunk out of the portion of my income that went towards investments/savings. I do buy grass-fed beef, but usually only ground beef since it’s at 5.99 a pound. I stock up on items like frozen veggies and coconut oil when there is a sale. I am stocking up on salt and other spices while they are still relatively cheap. I would say that my food bill is more expensive since going primal, but it hasn’t increased drastically (no more than $50-75 a month.)

    Brian wrote on March 9th, 2011
  20. Here in Sacramento, California, there is actually quite a bit of competition in fresh, local, organic, free-range, etc. sales. We have Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, a lot of fresh-food oriented local chains, many farmer’s markets, and two food coops. Even the conventional markets are pushing in this area.

    So the price of eating primally seems to be going down for us. We could do better if we hit the farmer’s markets but we can afford the convenience of Whole Foods and Raley’s (local chain that was a healthy food pioneer – one of the first supermarkets to do organic.)

    Hedonist wrote on March 9th, 2011
  21. Once upon a time I was “diagnosed” by an Ayurvedic specialist as the kind of person who “spends too much money on food.” Not a lot else of what he said really stuck, but as far as I’m concerned this one has been pretty accurate.

    Couple of suggestions that I think would help add additional depth to the survey:

    1) I drink a fair amount of alcohol (not excessive IMO, but maybe on the high end for Primal folks), which is a luxury item by most microeconomic definitions, and especially depending on where you live, it can be pretty expensive. When I’m calculating costs on my own personal budget, however, I tend to lump the cost of booze I buy for home consumption in with my grocery budget, while any alcohol consumed in a bar (not necessarily with a meal at a restaurant) similarly goes into my “meals out” category. I didn’t factor this cost in when responding to the poll above.

    2) Why not include the cost of items used for food prep & storage? Not exactly a regular expense the way groceries are, but for many Primal people I know, the initial conversion to this style of eating tends to include a large degree of start-up costs. For example, I bought a meat grinder, a food dehydrator, and a set of (better) knives for the (better) meat I’m eating now. I’m also contemplating a chest freezer, too. For the record I’ve been at it for about seven months now, so I would question whether I’m actually still in the “start-up” phase.

    Anyone else in a similar position?

    Alhaddadin wrote on March 9th, 2011
  22. Really I have no idea, I will have to track this better. I am pretty sure since I went Primal it has actually gone down. I don’t eat out near as much,, like almost never. I don’t buy any expensive snacks, over priced cereal, bread, spreads, dips, or frozen dinners. It’s all pretty much homemade food these days.

    Tim wrote on March 9th, 2011
  23. With just the two of us at home, my husband and I grow as much as we can during the summer, canning and freezing for later use. He hunts and fishes, and that’s provided an elk each year (200-300 lbs. of grass-fed meat) and seafood when available (clams, etc.). We spend about $125 per month per person for food, including occasionally eating out. We spend a lot on food – but we are very healthy and spend very little on doctors visits & prescriptions!

    Mary wrote on March 9th, 2011
  24. The pain of food costs hasn’t even come close to a critical point yet. We will see shortages this year in production of food from the US & Russia – this will cause turmoil but the real pain comes when the political party in South Africa gives up its reign and that are too becomes another Dafur.

    Dan wrote on March 9th, 2011
  25. We spend about $270 a month per person for a family of 3 in California. The bulk of that is spent at Costco and Trader Joe’s with side trips for organic veggies at a natural foods market. I don’t buy meat from the supermarket chains because it is of such poor quality. I rarely purchase grass fed meat because of the expense however the butcher at the natural foods store did tell me he would save me the beef fat so I can render my own tallow. (Bonus!) We eat out rarely. Frankly, the food I prepare at home is much tastier than the stuff we get in restaurants.

    Kate wrote on March 9th, 2011
  26. Since going Caveman on my food, I’ve actually noticed a decline in my food costs. I attribute this to: (1) spending less money on commodity foods; (2) making all my meals; (3) hunting or purchasing meat from fellow hunters; (4) buying foods that are in season. But the real clincher is little to no money spent on food commodities. Corn, soybeans, sugar, and legumes sky-rocket during economic instability. But that doesn’t affect me much, since I no longer eat those things. Fruit prices go up, but I eat fruit sparingly as a sort of dessert or treat. Unless there is a famine or corresponding drought, vegetable and meat prices often remain relatively stable in tough economic times. At least that’s been my experience so far.

    Steven wrote on March 9th, 2011
  27. Ironically, the calculator gave me almost identical to what we have budgeted for food [$150 per week]. This is for a house with 4 people; myself, my wife, my almost 4yr old, and my 1 yr old. We eat out probably once per week. The calculator gave me $141/wk. So for $9 more per week [according to the calculator] my health can go from CW-bad to Primal-Good. That is an investment I would make a million times over…

    Mike wrote on March 9th, 2011
  28. We spend about 8% of our income on groceries for a family of 4 with 2 preteens (but almost 10% if you add in all the vitamin supplements and protein powder). Our spending has gone up since going primal, but is well worth the health benefits for us.

    When we first started primal 2 years ago, we were on a very tight budget, so we focussed on buying the cheapest meats and veg we could find. Not always the best quality, but at least we could cut out the grains and still stay on budget.

    About 6 months ago my husband got a new job and our income jumped significantly. Now that we can afford it, I focus on buying higher quality food: free range meats, organic veg, cage-free eggs.

    I like that we’ve been able to eat primal regardless of our budget. If you can only afford cheaper meats and veg, that’s certainly better than a grain-based diet. If you can afford higher quality stuff, enjoy the added variety and better taste that it provides!

    LisaC wrote on March 9th, 2011
  29. We spend $1,100 a month for our family of 7 (2 adults, 5 kids). That’s baaaarrrely enough. I buy as much organic/grass fed food as I can. We go through about 80 eggs/week. It’s insane.

    shanti wrote on March 9th, 2011
  30. We (husband and 2 kids) have been primal for about the last 8-9 months and the grocery sticker shock no longer surprises me. I am so backwards from where I once was. I used to try and get my grocery budget down as low as $300 for a family of 4, then with the times and inflation I had it pretty steady at $600. But now it’s around $1200 per month. I go to a butcher for grass fed beef, a health food store for my organic produce and coconut oil etc. and a regular grocery store for a few other things like shampoo etc…

    I really took into consideration our income percentage spent on food compared to Europeans. Ours was seriously low, with seriously low quality food. Cheap is exactly that, cheap! We don’t eat out much and my husband works at home so
    he tends to eat more than average. So with the $1200 per month for 4, that is only about $40 per day for 4 peeps, so about $10 each per day and only about $3.30 per meal! Pretty good! And great food!!

    Amy Todd wrote on March 9th, 2011
  31. As a family of 5 (3 children), living in Fairfield County (CT), we spend about 2K per month in groceries.

    In addition to this, I also eat lunch 20 days a week at work, and breakfast about 15 days a week at work. Some of those breakfasts are protein shakes or nuts that I have on hand from home, or free fruit at the office.

    We probably eat out as a family twice per month, and once per month my wife and I usually go out for dinner.

    Buying grass-fed and organic food where I live is extremely expensive. The Whole Foods and grocery stores around here prey on the well-educated A-type personalities that dominate this space and ramp up the cost of food. Even the food at the farmer markets and farms is very over-priced.

    Helj wrote on March 9th, 2011
  32. One more point – why the Primal Way economically may work out cheaper.
    If you follow the Markets you will notice that commodity prices get manipulated by futures traders and it’s a bit out of hand right now.
    Yes, there are futures on cattle (MOO) but that is the extent of it, as for grains well there’s “aplenty” for all and right now there seems to be very big swings from those foods being in Contengo to Backwardation.
    Meaning the future prices are either above the actual price of the product (Contengo) or below the actual price (Back..).
    Yes the stock market is messing with our food supply too and this will lead to a very bad ending

    Dan wrote on March 9th, 2011
  33. (sorry if this comes up 2x – can’t get it to load right…)

    this whole hype about “rising food costs” – well – food costs have been shoved so artificially low by our industrial farming of junk that they HAVE to go up if we are to get any quality back in the food supply –

    Thanks Mark for highlighting this – it’s *extremely* important that people get a perspective on this food-cost thing – we are eating SO MUCH CHEAPER (with a matching level of cheap quality) than any time in the last 100+ years – and this is NOT a good thing – last month i did a post on this very issue urging people to understand that they cannot get real quality on the cheap (you GET what you PAY for) (as we are growers and KNOW the costs of good organic fare) (Re-Thinking the Appropriate Cost OF Food)

    i have a little cutworm problem in my greens in the greenhouse right now – the conventional chemical controls cost about $12, organic-but-not-OMRI-approved controls cost $26 and what did i end up paiying for all organic-OMRI approved controls for this nasty little caterpillar pillaging my chard? $58.00

    Please everyone get a clue – pesticide free (or safe organic ones) herbicide free good organic fare, meat or veg – COSTS TO PRODUCE!

    DaiaRavi wrote on March 9th, 2011
  34. We spend $600 a month total on food for four people. One person is primal (me) and the other three are semi-primal (I’m working on them, but figure semi is better then not at all). We only eat out one meal a week (Friday evening) otherwise we cook all of our meals at home from scratch.

    Emily wrote on March 9th, 2011
  35. We’re in the SF Bay Area, and our monthly grocery bill has jumped from $700/mo in 2005 to $1200/month in 2010. I think this is due to food inflation, as well as choosing better foods, which here are definitely more expensive all-around. There are just 2 of us, so it doesn’t do to buy anything in bulk (plus we have no extra storage).

    Rebecca wrote on March 9th, 2011
  36. Before I moved from NC to WA I was budgeting approximately $600 per month for food. I was purchasing everything from a chain grocery store. Now that I am on the West coast and have gone primal I have had to adjust considerably. All our meat is purchased from a local farmer, veggies from the farmers market (when it is in operation) and all the seafood from the market. Including wine, which I typically purchase from Trader Joes at around $4-5 a bottle we are now spending almost $800 per month. So yes things a good deal more expensive but we also find ourselves going out a lot less.

    Marty wrote on March 9th, 2011
  37. Hmmm … it’s just me and my wife in our house, and I’d say we spend ~$100-120 per person/month. That’s 2 shopping trips a month usually less than $100 each and maybe an addition “restock” trip for maybe <$50 or so.

    Kevin wrote on March 9th, 2011
  38. Our food costs have gone up since we became primal (veggies + meat are more expensive than quinoa and couscouse!), but I also think food costs have gone up since we made the switch. We also moved from DC to TX and oddly enough I find food to be more expensive here, especially at the farmer’s market. I think because it’s harder to farm in TX than in the very fertile land around DC. We have gotten thriftier, though, and are looking into getting a dedicated freezer so we can purchase bulk local grass-fed meat instead of overpriced grain-fed meat at Whole Foods (which is, unfortunately what we do now). I’m also interested in learning how to make a proper stock so that we can get protein and nutrients from animals without always having to sit down in front of a slab of meat. Many of our friends are “paleo” (we all CrossFit and that’s how the local CF affiliate recommends eating, yay!), but compared to the non-paleo/primal friends and family we spend a lot more money on food. And a lot more time! But I think it’s worth it :)

    Jessica wrote on March 9th, 2011
  39. ~800/month on food for 2 adults, a 3yr old and an 8 month old.

    Not all organic or free range/pasture fed… try to get organic on the softer stuff like spinach and blueberries but get conventions bananas, sweet potatoes, etc. Also get leaner cuts of conventional meats and some cheaper free range/grass fed cuts and slow cook. (Grass fed ribeyes are expensive around here).

    Probably 50/month on vitamins & fish oil.

    Arthurb999 wrote on March 9th, 2011
  40. I have a family of 4 (dad mom 2 teenagers 15 & 16). When my wife and I began trying to live a primal life style was the beginning of last summer the kids were off living at the cabin with the grandparents for the summer (ah good times….) and things went really well. We noticed an actual drop in the food bill. I think mainly because we both drink way too much pop (which we have cut out completely (I have had only one glass of D-Coke since July). When the kids came back home and all the stuff that comes with Teenagers and High School it became tougher to remain primal all the time. Then since we live in the northern regions of the midwest, when winter came along it became harder and way more expensive to keep a good and varied selection of foods on hand. So the long and the short of it is, Yes primal is more expensive right now and harder to maintain. We find our children complaining about repetitive food choices (not big veggie fans) and we find ourselves falling back at times to the easy choices because the drama is just too damn much. We wait for spring when our food choices increase and hope the pricing drops as they become more available again.

    Signguy wrote on March 9th, 2011

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