Are You Willing to Pay More for Healthy Food?

By , Dana Angelo White, Food Network’s Healthy Eats
A recent study finds that Americans aren’t willing to put their money where their mouth is for healthier restaurant options. Are some foods worth the extra cash?

Footing the Bill

study published in June finds that a large chunk of Americans aren’t willing to pay more for healthy foods at restaurants. The New York based marketing research firm that published the report found that approximately 70 percent of consumers over age 50 don’t expect to pay a higher price for more health-conscious menu items. The study also points out a decrease since 2007 in overall interest in seeking out healthier fare. 

There seems to be a bit more hope for younger folks (ages 18 to 24) — only 44 percent said they wouldn’t be willing to cough up more money.

Researchers recommend that restaurants increase efforts to offer healthy fare at comparable price points to other menu choices to keep customers coming back. My suggestion: restaurants could downsize large portions to help adjust costs.

Money-Saving Solutions

Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank, use our money-saving tips when cooking at home or dining out.

Eat Out Less – Don’t rely on restaurants to be your source for healthy. Making your own meals is almost always the smarter choice.

Shop Around – When shopping for healthy foods, hit up a few different stores to find the best bargains. You don’t need to go to multiple places every week, but a few extra trips can lead to big savings.

Bulk Up – Produce, grains, spices, meat, seafood and other healthy items can come cheaper when bought in large quantities.

Click here for more Money-Saving Solutions from Food Network.

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RAZZOOZLE 6/6/2020
thank you Report
Interesting article. I am willing to pay more for healthy food because my medical costs have been reduced by 75%, you go figure! Report
We shouldn’t have to pay more for healthy food. Food is not a income based luxury for health. Only those who can afford healthy food deserve healthy food? No, food should be transparent in packaging and processing. Basic nutrition information should be apparent. Most people already buy into the buzz words such as organic and pay more. Sometimes the product is more compromised. Working in biology and plants I have many friends who avoid the organic labels. Yet they cost more and people pay more. Unfortunately food has become political as well and the lack of transparency leaves people wondering more and more about the quality of food. Report
I cannot afford to pay more for groceries, never mind at a restaurant. Report
I'm really NOT willing to pay more for healthy food. Eating fresh, whole food should be CHEAP. It's when you add all the fake stuff, packaging, advertsing, etc. Junk/prepared/fake food should cost outrageous. What's wrong with this picture? Report
I would pay more at a restaurant to eat how I want and need to eat - healthier. Yet we rarely go out. Much cheaper to make and prepare meals at home to freeze for the times there is no time to cook or are too busy. Report
Paying extra is worth it to me. Report
thanks - yes Report
Thanks for the information Report
You get what you pay for. Organic grown food can be too pricey at times. Report
You have to make good food at home so you know exactly what you are eating - IMHO. Report
It seems to be supply and demand with healthy options. There are things that I would pay extra for without being healthy and it's important to take care of our inner body as well as outer. It's unfortunate that we do pay higher prices based on trends and such. Report
Healthy food is a right....not privilege for all. Chemical ladened and unhealthy food should cost more as it brings on disease and adds all sorts of burdens to society. Report
I'm a controlled diabetic, that doesn't take diabetic meds any longer! Praise the Lord! I've been eating healthy foods for years! I've lost 41 lbs. by doing this. I couldn't have done it without Jesus & my Spark Friends! I hope everyone has a Super & Blessed Saturday! Report
I definitely have learned that it is worth every penny to buy organic whenever possible and stick with whole foods. I no longer can stand the taste or smell of processed foods and don't mind the extra dough I spend. Report
Why should I have to pay more for a healthy option at a restaurant when it is usually much smaller? It's costing them less, why should I have to pay more? I can buy a regular entree and get two meals out of it, that's a much better deal. Report
There's a local cafe that serves fresh, locally sourced, organic, healthy foods. They cost more, but I'm happy to pay them the money. It goes to a local business owner, and it encourages other businesses to consider changing their practices when it comes to selling organic and healthy foods. Report
I'm more likely to pay more for quality food (like an exceptional cut of meat) than food someone decided should sell for more because they could stick a "healthy" label on it. When a restaurant is charging more to hold the salt and sear rather than deep-fry, all I see is profiteering - not any consideration at all about health. (Too often that healthy just means they fixed one or two things - such as "low-fat" or "low-sodium", while being enough to feed 2-4 people.) Report
I think it's unfair for restaurants to penalize you w/ higher prices on heathier fares!!! I rarely eat out ... but generally I go to Subway or one of our local restaurants (where they have an awesome warm spinach salad w/ roast chicken) for that ... otherwise I make my own lunches , etc. Healthy foods DO tend to go a bit further than junk food - so in that respect, grocery bills are about the same. Report
If I had the money, I'd be more than willing. Report
What's funny is that healthy food is actually LESS expensive for the nutrients (maybe not for the calories) - the cost as I see it (while soaking my beans for tomorrow's bean salad) is TIME to prepare food from scratch. Report
I am not willing to pay more for organic. The word organic is being overused and is more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. I can still eat healthy without paying the high cost for organic fruits and vegetables. Report
We are paying more and the healthy food in this town is hard to come by! We buy lots of frozen veges! Hopefully the Farmer's market wll start soon... Report
Yes, we don't eat out as much and spend those dollars to buy healthier ingredients to cook at home. I but organic whenever possible and choose grassfed meat. We especially try to avoid genetically engineered food and ingredients. It's easier to do when you cook from scratch. Report
as vegans, since vegetables and fruit are a major component of our diet we buy organic as much as possible to avoid the pesticides on conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. we vote with our wallets - we buy almost no processed foods, and carefully read labels for those we do buy, which are usually organic and have recognizable ingredients. Report
one might be willing - but let's be realistic - most people cannot afford the exorbitant prices - i.e bananas regularly run 59 to 79 cents pound - organics start well above the $1.00 mark.
regular spinach - big pack - about $4. organic is more than $2. added to that.
i for one on a fixed income and not working have to watch every penny. i buy only the sale items and still make reasonable meals that are healthy. i don't eat out either. i use veggie wash for all the items which i will eat unpeeled - to try and hold down the pesticides etc
even a treat like a frozen yogurt cup at $3. per is unattainable - especially for a mom with a few kids - things have gone way out of hand.
i grow as much as possible in my garden in the summer months - dry my herbs and so on.
i know it is a catch 22 - cause they say if we bought more organic prices would come down. but i have also read where nothing is completely free of sprays - so really it is NOT all organic either. Report
Yes, I am willing to pay more for good quality food. I am a believer that you get what you pay for. Report
I am willing to pay more but We shouldn't have to pay more for healthy food. Our government subsidizes unhealthy foods with agra-farmers instead of encouraging healthy eating habits and nutritious foods. By the time our kids are adults they've been stuffed full of processed foods and the healthy stuff doesn't look good. Report
I am definitely willing to pay more for healthy food. I am not spending money in the restaurants anymore, so it's a good trade. I buy a lot of organic food, which is costlier, but I'm much happier with it. I agree with long as people buy garbage food, it will continue to be around. Report
Yes I am willing but I really don't think it cost me anymore to eat , buy or order healthier foods I think its teh same if not less with the foods that are processed and or fried I eat more because they aren't as filling to me and I'm still hungry and got ot get somehting else to eat I think it cost me less to eat when I make teh healthier choices Report
When we were both working, Ev and I didn't have a problem. Now that we have a lot less money, we eat a portion and bring it home and try to get the most healthy thing we can. Report
Another challenge stepping stone for those who struggle with healthy lifestyles. That's just sad. Report
Some good tips in the article and comments.

It is sad how much more expensive healthier choices can be. Report
I love this. The fact is, healthier options should be LESS expensive; they are unprocessed, after all. It should be more expensive to pay for all the processing and additives. And then we wonder why we have the obesity problem in this country. Report
It's only a matter of paying more for healthy food now or more for healthcare later. In our household we made subtle changes in our groceries over time and continuously add on to that. The money we saved not buying a lot of processed snack foods we can now spend on fresh fruit instead. The difference in brown rice/pasta isn't nearly as significant in the bill as it is in our bodies. And we only get meat from a local butcher, in bulk, so that it adds up to being about the same price as the poorer quality grocery chain meat anyhow. Once your body has had fresher, higher quality food... the other stuff even tastes bad. I can't stand canned vegetables because of the metallic taste I never noticed before switching to fresh or frozen only. We browse the reduced produce cart frequently. Granted we live five minutes from the grocery store, so this isn't a difficult thing to do once or twice a week and save a lot of money. I'm all for putting higher tax on foods like snack cakes, chips, and soda just to deter the purchase and only help people's health. Report
I don't like paying more for anything but through trial and error, I have found that grass fed ground beef doesn't upset my children's stomachs like regular ground round or ground sirloin (yes, I bought the leaner ones because I don't like buying fat that will end up getting throw out - more meat for your dollar). When I can afford it, I will buy some organic, but have a hard time justifying $1 for an organic cucumber when a regular one is 50 cents.

When I eat out, I try to find healthier options that aren't exorbitantly priced too. I can actually eat healthy at McDonald's and not spend a fortune for it too. Report
OK in these difficult economic times- I can buy healthy food at home- if you want my business don't charge me more money for the steamed version of your fried food- Report
Grrrrr. Why is this even a question? Why do we always buy the best house we can afford, the best car we can drive, the best mobile phone, the best computer...but balk at the best food? Priorities.... Time to realize that cheap calories are in no way equal to cheap nutrition. Report
I am very reluctant to pay more for healthier food, and it makes me quite cross that we are expected to. It's no wonder obesity is such a huge problem when it makes more sense financially to buy the most unhealthy food. Report
The food manufactures should want their consumers to be healthy.
Good health, longer life, more time to purchase their product. +hey do not seem to consider that fact - only the bottom dollar they receive - not sure they think to the future.
Pefer healty food - make from scratch instead of purchasing easy boxed foods. Better to grow our own food (getting exercise in the process) Purchase from farmers that do not add artifical methods to get a better crop. .We should not pay more for foods that have unhealthy additives. It would cost the producer more to add those things than leaving them out and letting the consumer add the items themselves like salt and sugar. Report
COME ON! Don't people realize that we're slowly but surely heading toward another GREAT DEPRESSION - and this one of WORLDWIDE proportions!!!!!! PAY MORE?????? That's absolutely unconscionable in this day and age - where are people going to get the funds to pay *more*? Sheesh! Report
I refuse to pay more for healthy food. All food is inherently good and "healthy." It's what people do with it that determines the final nutritional value for better or for worse. I will however pay more for low-calorie portion-conscious meals. Report
I am willing to pay more, both in restaurants and at the store, for health and humane reasons. Having survived Stage III breast cancer on two occasions, I am cautious about putting pesticides and hormones into my body. They could kill us! So I buy organic vegetables, dairy and meat (which I don't eat much of). I'm also disturbed by the horrific living conditions under which chickens, turkeys, cows and pigs are kept and slaughtered. Birds have it especially hard because they're not even protected under the Humane Slaughter Act. Absolutely anything can and is done to the poor little things. So I always look for free-range eggs and meat so that the animals are at least allowed to live a normal life. You are what you eat. Report
I always buy organic veggies, fruits, chicken and beef. I fortunately can afford it and I think my body is worth it. I do try to eat healthy when we go out, however, I find that most chain restaurants have the most unappealing items on the lower calorie range. I usually go online and look at the menu of the restaurants that we are going to eat at, I write down what I want to order and include all of the changes, like no bun on a sandwich and no cheese on a salad. I find that a lot of your fast food places allows you to create your own meals online and they include the calories, fat etc in the item, many of them have it setup so you can change out almost any of the ingredients to customize your order. If a restaurant isn't willing to make the subs that I request, I do not go back and I go online to Yelp and give them the rating that they deserve!! I also have been known to write the head office with my complaints and my suggestions they can't make changes unless they hear the complaints. Report
This is why we don't go out anymore. Everything is processed in such a way that one meal could be the total calorie count for the day. Plus, asking for special substitutions takes all the fun out of dining out. So we just stay in and save our money to buy items in season from the local farmers or organic at Costco. Report
I am UNABLE to pay more for food! I am struggling desperately to eat at all. I have never purchased organic anything - it is always a rip off. Whether in restaurants or supermarkets, food costs are absolutely prohibitive now. I cut portions, and frequently have to skip meals again - or eat a rice cake for lunch. I don't eat ramen noodles anymore - they were my TOTAL diet for months at a time due to sheer necessity. I am NOT willing to pay MORE for anything at all! Report
I'm not sure what I'm being asked to comment on here - am I willing to pay more at restaurants for healthy foods, or am I willing to pay more at the market?

I think that restaurants that charge more for healthier options are stupid. And although I haven't seen this very often, when I do, I will order something from the normal menu, but have them prepare it how I want.

At the grocery store, I tend to pay more for organic produce. I don't like that I have to, but I understand the reasons behind it, and support the farmers who grow organic foods the best that I can.

If I am buying bread or peanut butter or something like that, I will pay more for healthier options, like natural peanut butter or actual bread with bread ingredients rather than fluffy sugar, chemicals and bleached flour. Report
Neither is the government - corn and soy are subsidized. Not apples. Not lettuce. Not spinach. Not squash. Not oranges. Not grapes. Not strawberries. Everything is made of corn! We feed corn to animals who aren't supposed to eat corn, get sick, and pass it onto us! How about the high fructose CORN syrup? The SOYBEAN oil in everything? It's garbage! Lettuce farmers, swiss chard farmers, carrot farmers, etc. have a hard time making it because they're competing with subsidized crops. Macro-level issues are influencing our micro-level diets. And it's sick.

I spend extra money for healthy food. And I have a garden with heirloom tomatoes, red, yellow and purple peppers, cucumbers, swiss chard, eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, basil, chives, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. I wish I could have it all year! Report
Well I am definitely thinking of paying more for meats after reading about the ongoing serious problem with chicken & bacteria & the antibiotics they are fed.

The article said any meat that is organically fed doesn't have the antibiotics pumped into them, which is (to try) and take care of the unsanitary conditions in which they live. Ugh!

The article said Whole Foods only sells non-antibiotic fed meat. Since I drive by a Whole Foods 6x a week, I think I will stop by, instead of passing by (on my way home or to Safeway). Report
I agree with the premise as to what exactly constitutes "HEALTHY" food for this article. Furthermore, I think we pay too much for certain foods that might be considered healthier (mind you we all pay for convenience as WELL). I feel that once again companies and restaurants are going to use this as another GIMMICK to pad their bottom line. Report