The impact of food prices on consumption: a systematic review of research on the price elasticity of demand for food

Am J Public Health. 2010 Feb;100(2):216-22. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.151415. Epub 2009 Dec 17.


In light of proposals to improve diets by shifting food prices, it is important to understand how price changes affect demand for various foods. We reviewed 160 studies on the price elasticity of demand for major food categories to assess mean elasticities by food category and variations in estimates by study design. Price elasticities for foods and nonalcoholic beverages ranged from 0.27 to 0.81 (absolute values), with food away from home, soft drinks, juice, and meats being most responsive to price changes (0.7-0.8). As an example, a 10% increase in soft drink prices should reduce consumption by 8% to 10%. Studies estimating price effects on substitutions from unhealthy to healthy food and price responsiveness among at-risk populations are particularly needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Behavior / economics*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Economic Recession
  • Food / economics*
  • Food Industry / economics*
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Models, Econometric
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Taxes / economics
  • United States