The True Price of your morning shot of cafeïne

Would you be willing to pay the True Price for your cup of coffee?

The cost price of a cappuccino with oat milk is is estimated to be 0.09% higher then the current cost price of a cappuccino with cow milk (True Price, 2021). So it seems your cow milk cappuccino is cheaper. However, true price calculations show that in fact the true price for a cappuccino with oat milk is 29% lower than the true price of a cappuccino with cow milk!

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**Calculations are estimations based on conventional Arabica coffee from Colombia. True Price Foundation 2021

The breakdown of both cappuccino's shows the True Price. The true price is the market price of a product including social and environmental costs that are currently not being paid for. For the cappuccino's this means (unaccounted) costs for Poverty (living wage), Child labour, Material Use, Water Pollution, Air Pollution, Land Use and the Contribution to Climate Change caused by the production, transport and preparation of one cappuccino. These so called 'externalities' are currently not included in your cappuccino price. When taking these externalities into account, the cost price of a cappuccino with oat milk increases with 20%, while the cost price of a cappuccino with cow milk increases with a staggering 47%. 

Curious about the breakdown of externalities of both cappuccino's? 

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The main cause of the difference in costs between a cow milk cappuccino and an oat milk cappuccino is the externality air pollution.

True Pricing is an effective instrument to make social and environmental damage in the value chain visible. True Price Foundation shows the true price of products, and therewith enables consumers, businesses and governments to make better decisions based on transparency. 

Consumers can choose to buy the product causing less damage or can choose to pay the true price. Businesses can look into ways to decrease the external costs by paying a fair living wage, produce more environmentally friendly, etc. Governments can develop policy demanding true price transparency, inclusion of external costs in the market prices, which will automatically make healthy food more affordable than unhealthy food, or government can favor healthy food over unhealthy food through VAT or other tax benefits. 

Would you be willing to pay 0,74 Euro more for your cappuccino with cow milk? in order to prevent or mitigate environmental, social or health damage?

Please respond, or share your thoughts, in the comment section below.


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Lisette van Benthum

NFP Coalition Builder

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Ninja Lacey

Knowledge Broker

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  • Ninja Lacey

    Interesting question!

    • Anonymous

      Yes I will be willing to pay less for oat's milk option and avoid air pollution. The other question in the global south - Kenya where I reside is the availability of the two options.

      • Lisette van Benthum

        Dear Dennis Kipkorir, You are raising a very interesting point: the AVAILABILITY of more sustainable choices! This is exactly what the Global Partnership for the True Price of Food is focusing on: stimulating availability and affordability of more sustainable food choices. Please stay tuned to NFP Connects to find out more about the start-up activities of the Global Partnership. In the meantime, we would highly appreciate it if you could share with us any current debates or developments in Kenya regarding the availability and affordability of more sustainable and/or more healthy food. Or what you suggestions would be in order to stimulate this in Kenya.

      • Anonymous

        Dear Dennis, we are glad to read that you are willing to pay the true price and thank you for drawing attention to context dependent access to diet options. Like Lisette (NFP) notes, it is the mission of the Global Partnership for the True Price of Food to stimulate availability and affordability of more sustainable food choices. The actions that need to be taken to realize this differ per context. True pricing offers transparency to identify where in the value chain what actions need to be taken to overcome social and environmental challenges also known as externalities. Based on transparency different actors in the value chain need to take aligned actions. In the context of Kenya True Price did a study on the True Price of Tea together with the Sustainable Trade Initiative. In this study social and environmental costs were identified, as well as opportunities to lower these costs. Please find the report 'The True Price of Tea from Kenya' on the website of True Price:

      • Lisette van Benthum

        Dear Dennis, I recently learned that in Kenya, oat milk is available in various retail outlets, including supermarkets like Nakumatt, Tuskys, Uchumi and in health food stores & specialty food stores like Healthy U and Nuts About Life. The fact that it is available in supermarkets and specialty stores only, makes my suspect that it is not affordable or available to all. Do you know of any Kenyan alternatives for cow milk?

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