Cost and greenhouse gas emissions of current, healthy, flexitarian and vegan diets in Aotearoa (New Zealand)
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  • Published on:
    Healthy vegan diets are cheaper
    • Michael C Morris, Visiting Fellow Royal Agricultural University
    • Other Contributors:
      • John H Livesey, Independent scientist

    The article Cost and greenhouse gas emissions of current, healthy, flexitarian and vegan diets in Aotearoa (New Zealand) [1] comes to the conclusion that healthy vegan diets are more expensive than the current omnivorous diet practiced in New Zealand. The authors conclude that there must be a trade off in terms of expense versus health and environmental effects.

    The authors provide no costing from externalities, such as the higher health and environmental clean-up costs of the current diet [2]. However, even under their own terms, the cost to the consumer for a healthy whole-foods plant-based diet as advocated by the EAT Lancet recommendations [3] is actually cheaper than the current omnivorous New Zealand diet.

    We recently conducted a survey of animal-based and plant-based protein foods in Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand's two biggest cities [4]. We checked prices in supermarkets and Asian food stores and we calculated cost per gram of digestible protein. Our findings were that the cheapest six sources of protein in Auckland were plant-based. The relative paucity of Asian stores in Christchurch meant that plant protein sources were slightly more expensive, but food such as red lentils and oats were still cheaper than animal products.

    Of course, if one substitutes meat products for plant-based highly processed burgers as in the model proposed by the authors of this study [1], then the cost of protein goes up, but this is not a real...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.