I recently read an article reporting on healthy diet costs. The findings showed that in order to eat a healthy diet, families would spend approximately $2,000 more annually compared to those who do not follow a healthy diet. I then thought about this compared to those who have food allergies and if they wish to buy certified ‘allergen-free’ food (i.e. gluten free, dairy free, etc.). They have no choice but to grin and bear a hefty checkout bill or resort to making their own food replacements, or simply go without. I personally can say that being a university student living on my own, I simply refuse to buy items such as gluten free/egg free bread or granola bars based on what I can afford on my budget. I do make up for some of the items I’m not buying at the grocery store by making my own breakfast granola or cookies to treat myself. However, even allergy friendly baking can add to costs with the added price of specialty flours, dairy free alternatives etc. Added prices can also be seen when eating out, although some restaurants are offering new alternatives such as gluten free options, these can come at an additional cost for the product, adding to your bill at the end of the night.
That being said, while facing the reality of having to pay more for allergy safe foods, I personally always try to stay mindful of how things are greatly improving in terms of allergy friendly food options that are available. I remember when I was younger (we’re talking around 15 years ago!!) my parents would struggle to find safe foods for me to eat and would actually have to order allergen free foods that would be MAILED to our house. Even more unfortunate is that although this food was delivered right to our house, it wasn’t exactly the most ‘tasty’ and I wouldn’t even want to eat some of it. Today however, it seems that more grocery stores than not have at least a small health food section offering food alternatives for those with allergies. It seems as the number of people who have allergies and other food restriction increases; the number of products available and the quality of these items continue to increase.
So while it may be premature to hope that the price tag of allergy safe foods will become closer to regular food items, it’s still worthwhile noting all the improvements made allowing allergen free foods to be more accessible and even more tasty!!
Feel free to comment with what your favourite ‘allergy friendly’ foods. Or how do you avoid purchasing these pricey items and find different alternatives to enjoy the foods you love safely (i.e. baking or doing your own cooking) 🙂