Switching to meatless diets can help slash food costs by up to a third, a recently published Oxford University study has revealed.
The research claims it is more affordable to adopt a vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian diet in countries such as the US, UK, Australia, and parts of Western Europe.
Specifically, vegan diets came out on top as the cheapest with vegetarians in at second.
Oxford University plant-based study
In The global and regional costs of healthy and sustainable dietary patterns: a modeling study, researchers compared seven “sustainable” diets to the typical diets in 150 countries.
The aim was to assess which diets dubbed to be better for the planet are realistic for widespread adoption in terms of cost.
While the importance of dietary changes to healthy eating is becoming more widely understood, less is known about the “economic dimensions” of such changes, the study reads.
In looking at plant-based diets, the researchers mainly included whole foods. The prices assessed were found in the World Bank’s International Comparison Program.
Vegan diets out on top
Among the findings are that vegan diets had the most reduced food costs, at between 25 and 29 percent lower. Followed by vegetarians, the next cheapest was flexitarian. Pescatarian diets were noted as being the least affordable.
Dr. Marco Springman is one of the researchers on the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food.
In a statement on the university’s website, they said: “We think the fact that vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian diets can save you a lot of money is going to surprise people.
“When scientists like me advocate for healthy and environmentally friendly eating, it’s often said we’re sitting in our ivory towers promoting something financially out of reach for most people.
“This study shows it’s quite the opposite. These diets could be better for your bank balance as well as for your health and…the planet.”
Despite the findings, Dr. Springman stresses that many low-income diets tend to contain large amounts of starchy foods. This is especially common in Western diets. They are also routinely “unsustainable.”