Measuring the Affordability of Nutritious Diets in Africa: Novel Price Indexes for Diet Diversity and the Cost of Nutrient Adequacy

Presented at the Annual Meetings of the ASSA, 5 January 2018

38 Pages Posted: 19 May 2017 Last revised: 28 Mar 2018

William A. Masters

Tufts University - Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; Tufts University - Department of Economics

Yan Bai

Tufts University - Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Anna Herforth

Tufts University - Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Daniel Sarpong

University of Ghana - Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

Fulgence Mishili

Sokoine University of Agriculture

Joyce Kinabo

Sokoine University of Agriculture

Jennifer Coates

Tufts University - Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Date Written: November 18, 2017

Abstract

Policies and programs often aim to improve the affordability of nutritious diets, but existing food price indexes are based on observed quantities which may not meet nutritional goals. To measure changes in the cost of reaching international standards of diet quality, we introduce a new Cost of Diet Diversity index based on consuming at least five different food groups as defined by the widely-used Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women (MDD-W) indicator, and compare those results with the cost of foods needed to meet adult women’s estimated average requirements of essential nutrients and dietary energy. Using national average monthly market price data for Ghana from 2009 through 2014, we find that the relative cost of reaching the MDD-W standard fluctuates seasonally and since mid-2010 has risen about 10 percent per year faster than inflation due to rising relative prices for fruit and fish, while the cost of nutrient adequacy rose even faster due primarily to increased cost of foods rich in vitamin A and calcium. Similar data for Tanzania from 2011 through 2015 show small increases in 2011 and 2012 but stable prices thereafter. Our methods can show where and when nutritious diets are increasingly (un)affordable, and which nutritional criteria account for the change. These results are based on national price monitoring systems, but the method is generalizable to other contexts for monitoring, evaluation, and assessment of changing food environments.

Keywords: Food Prices, Diet Quality, Diet Diversity, Nutrient Adequacy, CPI

JEL Classification: Q11, Q18, I15

Suggested Citation

Masters, William A. and Bai, Yan and Herforth, Anna and Sarpong, Daniel and Mishili, Fulgence and Kinabo, Joyce and Coates, Jennifer, Measuring the Affordability of Nutritious Diets in Africa: Novel Price Indexes for Diet Diversity and the Cost of Nutrient Adequacy (November 18, 2017). Presented at the Annual Meetings of the ASSA, 5 January 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2970745 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2970745

William A. Masters (Contact Author)

Tufts University - Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy ( email )

150 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02111
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.tufts.edu/willmasters

Tufts University - Department of Economics ( email )

Medford, MA 02155
United States

Yan Bai

Tufts University - Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy ( email )

150 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02111
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ianda.nutrition.tufts.edu/team/yan-bai-mib

Anna Herforth

Tufts University - Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy ( email )

150 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02111
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ianda.nutrition.tufts.edu/team/anna-herforth-phd

Daniel Sarpong

University of Ghana - Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness ( email )

Accra
India

HOME PAGE: http://ianda.nutrition.tufts.edu/team/daniel-bruce-sarpong-phd

Fulgence Mishili

Sokoine University of Agriculture ( email )

PO Box 3000
Morogoro
Tanzania

HOME PAGE: http://ianda.nutrition.tufts.edu/team/fulgence-mishili-phd

Joyce Kinabo

Sokoine University of Agriculture ( email )

PO Box 3000
Morogoro
Tanzania

HOME PAGE: http://ianda.nutrition.tufts.edu/team/joyce-kinabo-phd

Jennifer Coates

Tufts University - Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy ( email )

150 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02111
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://nutrition.tufts.edu/profile/faculty/jennifer-coates

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