Skip to main content

Indonesia: Study on the Cost of the Diet

Indonesia is a lower-middle income country and the largest economy in Southeast Asia. However, the benefits of economic growth are not shared equally by all in the country. Poverty is concentrated in rural areas, where 14.3 percent of the population live below the poverty line. Access to food is also uneven, and influenced by factors like poverty and lack of infrastructure. High food prices – with rice being 50 to 70 percent more expensive than in neighbouring countries – compound the situation. As a result, 19.4 million people are unable to meet their dietary requirements. 

At the request of the Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS), WFP Indonesia conducted a study in the first quarter of 2017 on the Cost of the Diet in Indonesia, with the expectation that the results will be used to inform the design of the Rastra transformation programme (BPNT-Bantuan Pangan Non-Tunai, Non-Cash Food Assistance), which aims to provide a more balanced, nutritious diet for poor and vulnerable people.

The key findings and recommendations of the study, based on secondary data analysis at national level and primary data collection from 8 provinces, are as follows:  

1. It is possible to consume a staple-adjusted nutritious diet using foods available in the local markets. Rice, eggs, tofu, fish, green leafy vegetables and fortified wheat flour and oil have been identified as inexpensive foods that are rich in nutrients.

2. A staple-adjusted nutritious diet for the average household size of 4 people costs 1,191,883 IDR per month. Purchasing this diet from the local markets is the most expensive in Papua province (1,689,534 IDR) and the least expensive in Sulawesi Selatan province (1,023,655 IDR).

3. Based upon current food expenditure figures from the 2016 SUSENAS, 62% of the national population can afford a staple-adjusted nutritious diet. The affordability of this diet is highest in Kalimantan Selatan, where 76% of the population can afford this diet and lowest in NTT where only 32% of the population can afford this diet

4. Food availability is not a key barrier to households consuming a staple-adjusted nutritious diet. However, economic access to foods (affordability) is a key barrier. Other barriers to the consumption of a this diet may include knowledge of what foods are key sources of nutrients and preference for foods and drinks that are less nutritious, more expensive and/or more convenient.

5. The recommended food basket for the Rastra transformation programme (BPNT) is rice, eggs and green leafy vegetables (called the nutritious package). This package with a voucher value worth 110,000 IDR per month has the greatest nutritional impact compared to the current Rastra programme, BPNT with rice and sugar, and BPNT with rice and eggs. It is strongly recommended that the BPNT does not provide a basket of rice and sugar as it will have very little nutritional impact due to the very low content of essential nutrients. Furthermore, given the rising overweight and obesity issue in Indonesia, where 12% of children under 5 years of age are overweight  and 25% and 6% of adults are overweight and obese respectively , a package of rice and sugar could contribute to further exacerbating this issue.  

6. If the voucher value was to increase by 50% (to 165,000 IDR) it is recommended that the nutritious package also includes 20g per day of a fortified complementary food for households that have a child aged 6-23 months. If the voucher value was to increase by 100% (to 220,000 IDR) is it recommended that the nutritious package also includes the fortified complementary food and that households can access the left over money as cash to be able to purchase other nutritious foods of their choice.

7. The cost of the foods included in the Rastra, BPNT or nutritious packages, differs from province to province. This impacts a household’s ability to purchase the quantities required for nutritional impact in line with the national level analysis. This is particularly true for Papua, Maluku and NTT, where the cost of nutritious foods are much more expensive.

8. In the interest of equity and nutritional impact, WFP recommends that fixed quantities of foods be available for households to purchase regardless of the province in which BNPT recipients live. Thus the value of the voucher will need to be adapted according to the price of those foods at the provincial level.  In some provinces (e.g. Jawa Barat and Jawa Timur) the cost of the voucher will be lower; in others (e.g. Papua and Maluku) it will be higher. WFP also recommends that the Government explore mechanisms for ensuring that food price volatility does not reduce the amount of food able to be purchased with the voucher. 

Access the report here: