Is a Plant-based Diet Expensive?

Often, I hear people make comments about how having a plant-based diet is for the privileged and that most people could not afford to live that way. It’s an interesting concept and something I definitely think needs to be addressed.

In terms of a world view, having a plant-based diet is a privilege. In fact, having the opportunity to decide what type of diet or lifestyle you would like to have is a privilege in itself. Millions of people on this planet are dying due to not having access to any food, while we have the opportunity to decide which foods we do or do not want to eat. The sheer variety of the foods we have available to us is enough to make us privileged.

But in terms of an Irish view point, is being plant-based expensive? In my opinion, no. People often say that ‘vegan’ foods are expensive but what is vegan food? Most people, plant-based or not, eat ‘vegan’ foods daily including fruits and vegetables. If people are referring to branded snacks and foods that are purposely vegan, then yes they are expensive just like any other branded foods. For example, a bar of Cadbury’s chocolate costs around €3 yet I’ve never heard anyone say that being a chocolate eater is very expensive. In terms of a day-to-day plant-based diet, your food shouldn’t be costing you anymore than if you ate meat and dairy. In fact, it should nearly be cheaper. For example, a pack of chicken fillets can cost upwards of €5 while a can of chickpeas costs around 30c. That’s a huge difference in price. A litre of Tesco soya milk costs 75c which is the same price for a litre of their dairy milk and most wholewheat items such as wraps, pittas and pasta cost the equivalent to their white counter-parts.

With the ever growing range of plant-based foods available in every day supermarkets, I believe that having a plant-based lifestyle can be suitable for almost any budget and is no more expensive that an omnivorous one. In fact some of my own kitchen staples are some of the cheapest foods you can find. It has never been easier and cheaper to be plant-based. If you’re not convinced, why not challenge yourself for a week? Keep your regular grocery budget and try to buy fully plan-based. I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how far your money goes.

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