Yes, Healthy Food Can Be Affordable—Here’s Proof

Photo: Instagram/@solsipsnyc
While the healthy food gap is real—lower-income Americans don't have the same access to nutritious foods as those in higher income brackets—strides are being made. Mega food companies, such as Nestle and PepsiCo, have spoken about about their mission to bring healthy foods and snacks to the masses, and have the reach to do so. Co-working culinary spaces are also making it possible for new healthy food brands to get up-and-running without the complications of tricky paperwork. And now, healthy restaurants are becoming more accessible.

Following in the footsteps of Los Angeles fast-casual brand Everytable, 21-year-old Francesca Chaney recently opened her Brooklyn vegan cafe, Sol Sips, with a sliding price model to make what's on the menu accessible to more people than it would be with set prices. Sixty percent of the residents in the cafe's Bushwick neighborhood are white collar workers, while the other 30 percent is blue collar, making it a prime environment to test out the model.

“So many different people [come] through. More indigenous people, more Latinx people, more black people.” — Francesca Chaney, owner of Sol Sips

Here's how it works: The cashier simply asks customers how much they are willing to pay, between $7 and $15 for an entree and drink. (To many, $7 is still a big expense, but it's far cheaper than the average Brooklyn brunch fare.) So far, the pay-as-you-please model is going well and Chaney hopes it will inspire other restaurants to try it out.

“So many different people [come] through,” she says. “More indigenous people, more Latinx people, more black people,” Chaney tells Civil Eats.

Chaney is leading by example showing disruptive changes in the food industry can prove to be profitable while giving everyone—of all income brackets—a place at the table.

Here's how to eat healthy on a food stamp budget. Plus, why food stamps should be legal to use when buying food online

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