Analysis of the Costa Rican Basic Food Basket: Opportunities for improving Feeding and Nutrition
Introduction: The Basic Food Basket (CBA) consists of a list of foods and beverages that represent current food habits in Costa Rica. Criteria for including an item in the CBA are universality, energy and protein contribution and percentage of total expenditure on food. The objective of this study is to demonstrate that the inclusion of nutritional criteria can improve the structure of the current CBA, without increasing cost and contribute to a greater congruence with the human right to food. Methodology: The quantities of foods included in the current urban CBA were compared with the Food Guideline recommendations and the nutritional content of foods in the CBA was compared with the daily nutrient recommendations. Suggested modifications were made so that the CBA has a better nutritional profile and its cost calculated to see the impact at the economic level. A recreation of the amounts of CBA food for one day was performed. Results and discussion: 21 additional foods were incorporated into the suggested CBA, six were eliminated, two foods were increased in quantity and in one quantity was decreased. It is possible to increase the contribution of dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamins C, E and K and reduce the contribution of total sugar, added sugar, sodium and cholesterol without increasing cost; in fact the cost of the modified CBA is slightly reduced. Conclusions: It is possible to include additional nutritional criteria such as micronutrient content in the formulation of the CBA without increasing cost. The structure of the CBA should be reviewed to offer a more adequate, balanced, and varied diet that responds to the current nutritional needs of the population in Costa Rica.