What’s the Price for Eating Healthy?
How healthy and thrifty are Americans’ food purchases? Until recently, that was a tough question to answer. However, not anymore. With the release of the Purchase-to-Plate Crosswalk (PPC) tool, researchers have the capability to assess the foods we buy to their nutritional content.
The PPC provides what was the missing link between barcoded retail data and nutritional databases maintained by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA). With this link, researchers can evaluate what we buy and how it measures up to established dietary guidelines, providing a significant resource for food economics research and policy evidence, according to the USDA.
For the Economic Research Service, Westat used automated methods incorporating disparate food descriptions to link the 2 databases. Our nutritionists provided a quality review of the links and determined yield factors to adjust weights for refuse and cooking losses.
Funding and oversight of the project was a collaborative effort led by the Economic Research Service, including the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and the Agricultural Research Service.