Cost and affordability of a nutritionally balanced gluten-free diet: Is following a gluten-free diet affordable?

Carly Moores, Joanne Hartley, Rebecca Perry, Helen Vidgen, Lynne Daniels, Anthea Magarey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Aim: To determine the cost and affordability of a gluten-free healthy food basket for four reference families in Australia. A secondary aim was to determine the price differential between commonly available gluten-free and gluten-containing food staples. Methods: Exploratory study using an amalgamation of two commonly used food basket costing methods. Two food basket types were constructed for four common Australian family types. These were designated the Healthy Food Basket and modified (gluten-free) Healthy Food Basket. Baskets were priced at five locations and costs as a proportion of the Equivalised Household Disposable Income and average weekly earnings for welfare recipients were calculated. The price differential for four common bread and cereal staples were also calculated per 100g. Results: The gluten-free healthy food basket was significantly more expensive compared to a gluten-containing healthy food basket for all family types. The gluten-free basket was considered unaffordable for three of the four common family types. Gluten-free staples are significantly more expensive than their gluten-containing counterparts. Conclusions: Compliance to a gluten-free diet may be more difficult for some families due to the significant price discrepancy of gluten-free items. Families on welfare with people who require a gluten-free diet are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. Consideration should be given to the creation of a national subsidised medical foods program to enable equitable access to affordable gluten-free staple foods via prescription.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)36-42
    Number of pages7
    JournalNutrition and Dietetics
    Volume73
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

    Keywords

    • Coeliac disease
    • Food price
    • Gluten-free diet
    • Healthy food basket

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