Low-cost, nutritious meals set the benchmark, with regional disparities evident.

Nigerians looking to maintain a healthy diet in January 2024 faced an average daily cost of N858, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) latest Cost of a Healthy Diet (CoHD) report. This figure represents the least expensive combination of locally available foods that meet globally recognized dietary guidelines.

“The CoHD serves as a benchmark for assessing affordability and accessibility of healthy diets,” explained NBS spokesperson highlighting its role in evaluating Nigerians’ well-being. He further noted that the cost excludes expenses related to food preparation and transportation.

The report also unveiled significant regional variations. The southwest zone recorded the highest average CoHD at N1,045 per day, with residents in Osun, Ekiti, and Ondo bearing the brunt at N1,090, N1,087, and N1,063 respectively. Conversely, the northwest zone emerged as the most affordable, with the average CoHD settling at N683. Katsina and Niger states boasted the lowest costs at N629.

This data suggests a potential challenge for Nigerians striving for balanced meals. “N858 may seem manageable, but for low-income households, this cost can be a significant hurdle,” remarked a nutritionist interviewed for this report emphasized the importance of government initiatives to bridge this gap and ensure everyone has access to affordable, healthy food options.

The NBS report underscores a concerning trend – the CoHD has been rising faster than both general inflation and food inflation in recent months. This trend merits close monitoring to ensure Nigerians’ dietary needs are not compromised by rising food costs.