‘New study shows the EAT-Lancet diet is unaffordable for at least 1.6 billion people’

H. Claire Brown for the New Food Economy:

Earlier this year, a groundbreaking study from the EAT-Lancet Commission outlined a climate-friendly path to feeding 10 billion people “within planetary boundaries.” Its recommendations included limiting meat consumption to about an ounce per day, or roughly two chicken nuggets, and bulking up on low-impact foods like beans. […]

A new study from researchers at Tufts University and the International Food Policy Research Institute adds a wrinkle to the debate: the diet recommended by the EAT-Lancet commission is simply unaffordable for an estimated 1.58 billion people, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

To get these numbers, the researchers cross-referenced local income data with the retail prices of 744 foods in 159 countries. They based their model on the lowest-cost diet that conformed to the recommendations made in the report and found that following the EAT-Lancet diet would cost a median of $2.84 per day globally. It was also about 60 percent more expensive than a diet that met minimum nutritional requirements, largely because it includes high-cost meat and dairy. 

Our future is largely tied to diet and the related agricultural effects. I have no idea what the answer is, but I’m glad the discussion is happening passionately. It needs to if we’re going to actually figure out how to eat our way out of this climate mess.