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OBJECTIVE: Access to an affordable, nutritious food supply is an important determinant of population health. Healthy food basket surveys have been used across Australia as a tool to monitor food cost, quality and variety. The release of the revised Nutrient Reference Values, together with local interest in food security, highlighted the need to develop a Victorian Healthy Food Basket to reflect the food access issues of the Victorian population.
METHOD: The development took place at Monash University, Victoria, in December 2006. Demographic and food purchasing data were used to define the family types and foods in the healthy basket, respectively. The revised Nutrient Reference Values were used to benchmark the nutritional adequacy of the basket.
RESULTS: A Victorian Healthy Food Basket consisting of 44 core and non-core foods was developed. The quantities of the 44 items in the basket were modified to meet the nutritional needs of four different family types most common in Victoria and those most vulnerable to food insecurity: two adults and two children; a single mother and two children; a single adult male; and a single elderly female.
CONCLUSION: Victoria has a local tool to monitor healthy food cost and accessibility that meets at least 85% of all individual nutrient requirements and at least 95% of all energy requirements for four family types for a fortnight.
IMPLICATIONS: The Victorian Healthy Food Basket provides an additional tool to monitor the cost and access to healthy food in Victoria.