NAREA 2022 Annual Meeting Keynote Address

Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University
How Much Does a Healthy Diet Cost?: Consumer Aspirations and Constraints in a Rapidly Changing Food Environment


USDA announced in August 2021 a 21% increase in the maximum benefit for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the largest increase in real (inflation-adjusted) value for several decades. This increase was based on the first revision in more than 10 years to USDA's Thrifty Food Plan, a model diet that takes account of consumer preferences, food costs, and nutritional constraints for a healthy diet. This presentation will describe how the Thrifty Food Plan is determined, which is useful directly for understanding the federal nutrition assistance safety net and more broadly for understanding the economics of food adequacy, taking into consideration how people's aspirations and constraints interact. The presentation will discuss this U.S. nutrition assistance topic in the context of new research nationally and internationally on food system costs, nutritional quality, and environmental sustainability in a time of climate disruption and pandemic.



Parke Wilde (PhD, Cornell) is a food economist and professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Previously, he worked for USDA’s Economic Research Service. He studies food security and hunger measurement, the economics of food assistance programs, and federal dietary guidance policy. With USDA support, he directed the RIDGE extramural research grants program and a 2021-2022 grants program on household food security measurement. He is co-organizer of a university climate initiative ( He received the AAEA Distinguished Quality of Communication award for the textbook, Food Policy in the United States: An Introduction, second edition (Routledge/Earthscan, 2018). 


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