Santa Clara University

Food & Agribusiness Institute

Cost of a Healthy Meal

Since the summer of 2011, the Food & Agribusiness Institute (FAI) and Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) have collaborated on “The Cost of a Healthy Meal” project, which is a long-term study that fuses dietary analysis and food costs. The project aims to determine if low income individuals in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties can purchase a healthy meal with current government assistance amounts. In addition, the study seeks to discover the behaviors and buying patterns of impoverished individuals in these counties.

The Cost of a Healthy Meal research is developing into a ground-breaking study. It involves 24-hr dietary interviews and visits to local supermarkets for food pricing, from which an analysis can be done on dietary patterns, nutritional needs, and food costs. Connecting these three aspects of research/data has yet to be done in any type of study across the United States. This innovative approach promises to be at the forefront of policy changes in the future, and the data gathered will be invaluable for non-profit organization serving the needs of low income communities.

This research project was made possible by the hard work of the research assistants including Brenda Alba, Courtney Robinson, Lisa McMonagle, Mahbod Parvar, and Nick Leasure, as well as the continued support of the Bank of America Foundation.

Hunger Issues Forum 2011 (PDF)

Final COHM Presentation (PDF)

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