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Food Reference Budgets as a Potential Policy Tool to Address Food Insecurity: Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study in 26 European Countries

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TitleFood Reference Budgets as a Potential Policy Tool to Address Food Insecurity: Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study in 26 European Countries
Publication TypeOther Journal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsCarrillo-Alvarez, E., Penne T., Boeckx H., & and Goedemé B. S. T.
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Pagination12
Date Published01/19
PublisherMDPI
Abstract

The aim of this article is to present the development of cross-country comparable food
reference budgets in 26 European countries, and to discuss their usefulness as an addition to
food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) for tackling food insecurity in low-income groups. Reference
budgets are illustrative priced baskets containing the minimum goods and services necessary for
well-described types of families to have an adequate social participation. This study was conducted
starting from national FBDG, which were translated into monthly food baskets. Next, these baskets
were validated in terms of their acceptability and feasibility through focus group discussions,
and finally they were priced. Along the paper, we show how that food reference budgets hold
interesting contributions to the promotion of healthy eating and prevention of food insecurity in
low-income contexts in at least four ways: (1) they show how a healthy diet can be achieved with
limited economic resources, (2) they bring closer to the citizen a detailed example of how to put FBDG
recommendations into practice, (3) they ensure that food security is achieved in an integral way,
by comprising the biological but also psychological and social functions of food, and (4) providing
routes for further (comparative) research into food insecurity.

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