GI Symbol News with Alan Barclay

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The cost of food

Alan Barclay

In December GI News, a reader posted a comment suggesting that food companies earn the right to carry the GI Symbol then immediately hike up the prices.

This is not the case at all. Healthier foods are not more expensive.We have just conducted a survey of 5,200 Australian foods and found that overall, healthier foods whether they carry our GI Symbol or not, were not more expensive than less healthy alternatives. However, within a food category, some products are of course more expensive than others, whether they are healthier choices or not. The type (quality) and number of ingredients, product size and country of origin are key factors here. Where you shop can make a difference, too. Some areas are significantly more expensive than others as every smart shopper knows.

Let’s look at bread as it is one of the major sources of carbohydrate in our diet, which means buying quality low GI bread is an excellent investment in your long term health.

Over the years, the GI team at the University of Sydney has tested a lot of breads for manufacturers, and relatively few are actually low GI. Developing and reliably producing low GI breads is not a simple task and price increases for ingredients ultimately drive costs up during the production process. For example the ongoing drought in Australia and the global wheat shortfall increased the cost of flour. The breads that carry the GI Symbol are quality products made with special ingredients and a special manufacturing process. They have all been GI tested using the Australian Standard method (which will soon be the International Standard), and as a condition of being a GI Symbol Licensee, a company will measure a product’s GI value on a regular basis (from batch to batch throughout the year) to ensure that it really has the GI value that they are claiming. This is why we can say with confidence that the GI Symbol is your guarantee that the GI value stated near the nutrition information panel is reliable.

When it comes to the checkout, we found that the breads were competitively priced:

  1. Lower GI white breads carrying the GI Symbol were no more expensive than higher GI white breads.
  2. Low GI wholegrain breads were no more expensive than similar quality higher GI wholegrain breads.


Dr Alan W Barclay, PhD
CSO, Glycemic Index Ltd
Phone: +61 2 9785 1037
Mob: +61 (0)416 111 046
Fax: +61 2 9785 1037