J Korean Diet Assoc.  1998 Aug;4(2):245-253.

Estimated Food Cost to Maintain Basic Living Expenditure

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition Science, Dankook University, Korea.


In this study, the food cost for the urban worker's living expenses was estimated for the Korea Labor Union. The urban workers living expenses are minimum of healthy and decency level expenses with allowances for minimum quality of life. Thus, the food cost should be enough for purchasing proper kinds and amount of foods which can supply sufficient nutrient to maintain health and which should reflect current food consumption patterns. To estimate the food cost, the Korean Recommended Dietary Allowances was used to calculate th amount of nutrients which should be supplied. The National nutrition survey and the Food balance sheet, were used to estimate the current consumption patterns for the kind and amount of food. To estimate price for each food item, the market survey was executed in six large cities. Also, to verify the estimated food cost, actual food costs were surveyed. For 5 kinds of model household, dietary allowances were calculated for the each nutrient. Using the Korean food guides, the number of serving for each food group were decided for the model households. In each food group, the amount and kind of foods were decided by the current food consumption pattern. The kind and amount of food were adjusted by the amount of calculated nutrient. When the amount of nutrient was between 90% and 110% of the recommended dietary intake, it was accepted. With these amount and kinds of foods, the food cost were calculated using the market survey. Considering extra expenses for the eating-out and processed foods, extra expenses are added. As a results, for single person family, the estimated food cost was 149,210won per month. For two, three, four and five person family, the estimated food costs were 245,179won, 381,182won, 501,669won and 687,980won per month, respectively. The estimated food cost were lower in the single and two person family than the actual food cost by the survey. The cost for eating-out gave major differences. In the future, to estimate food cost, the food consumption patterns for the different kind of household, sex and age should be studied carefully. Also, the pattern of eating-out should by analyzed.


estimated food cost; basic living expenditure

MeSH Terms

Family Characteristics
Health Expenditures*
Labor Unions
Nutrition Surveys
Quality of Life
Recommended Dietary Allowances
Single Person
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