A new Oxford University study shows that, contrary to popular belief, a predominantly plant-based diet is cheaper than the average diet people in wealthier countries follow.
More precisely, in countries in the Western world like the US, the UK, Western Europe, and Australia, going entirely or partially vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian can lower your food bill by up to a third.
What’s more, these results aren’t just based on a survey, but on an extensive study published in the prestigious Lancet Planetary Health.
To find out which one of the different sustainable nutritional styles is most affordable, researchers used 2017 price data from the International Comparison Program.
The research team estimated the costs of popular diets like vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, and pescatarian by analyzing this data.
This meant creating a shopping list of at least 31 food items suited specifically to each diet.
Results show that the most expensive of these is the pescatarian diet, which involves eating plenty of seafood and fish.
However, plant-based dietary patterns proved to be more affordable in high and middle-income countries (22–34%), but this was not the case in lower-middle-income and low-income countries. There, plant-based diets were 18–29% more expensive.
Following a flexitarian, vegetarian, or vegan diet is a healthy and environmentally sustainable habit, since meat has one of the most significant carbon footprints of any industrial product.
All in all, according to the study, there aren’t any negative aspects of adopting sustainable nutrition styles, and the benefits are many:
- Lower food costs
- Better health and longevity
- Reduced public expenditure
- Lower carbon emissions
Luckily, for people living in developed countries, there are plenty of options if you want to go plant-based. Newbies don’t even need to cook at home with the advent of vegan-specialized food delivery services like Purple Carrot and many others.
What’s more, both vegetarian and vegan options are also available with many snack subscription boxes.