Pan American Health Organization

Chapter 4 Updates to the cost and affordability of a healthy diet

Key messages
  • The average cost of a healthy diet globally was 3.66 purchasing power parity (PPP) dollars per person per day in 2021. Latin America and Caribbean had the highest cost of a healthy diet compared to all other regions at 4.08 PPP dollars per person per day, followed by Asia (3.90 PPP dollars), Africa (3.57 PPP dollars), North America and Europe (3.22 PPP dollars), and finally Oceania (3.20 PPP dollars).

  • Between 2020 and 2021, the cost of a healthy diet increased by 5.3 percent in the region. The surge could be explained by the rise in food inflation driven by lockdowns, disruptions in the global supply chain, and labour shortages that occurred during this period.

  • At the subregional level, between 2020 and 2021, South America showed the largest increase in the cost of a healthy diet (6.4 percent), followed by the Caribbean (5 percent), and Mesoamerica (4.1 percent).

  • In 2021, 133.4 million people could not afford a healthy diet in the region, which represents 22.7 percent of the population. This meant an increase of 11.5 million people compared to 2020. In the Caribbean subregion, this figure rose to 57 percent, followed by Mesoamerica with 22.2 percent and South America with 20.6 percent.