Tools for Food Security and Nutrition Analysis

Household Economy Approach and Cost of the Diet

CotD Software

Save the Children has made a substantial investment in the Cost of the Diet software Version 2 to have it completely rewritten in Delphi XE4© which is more stable, reliable, and adaptable. The computer-based platform uses linear programming to calculate the lowest cost combination of locally available foods that would need to be consumed to meet specifications for energy, macronutrients and micronutrients for any given individual or household. A review & update of the underlying parameters was also conducted in 2014 to provide a coherent scientific basis for the method.

Click on "Download Software" to install the CotD software on your computer. Please note that you will be asked to sign a license agreement stating our terms of use before being granted access to the software.

Release notes are available to guide you through how to download the software and any queries that may arise during this process. They are available under Reports and Publications.





Save the Children UK are delighted to announce the launch of the new and improved Cost of the Diet tool!

A recorded webinar will be available through the link above where you can hear more about how we’ve improved the software and examples of how it has been used, including the World Food Programme's Fill the Nutrient Gap assessments.

What is the Cost of the Diet tool?
The Cost of the Diet is an innovative method and bespoke software developed by Save the Children to understand the extent to which economic poverty, typical dietary habits and the availability of food prevents households and vulnerable individuals from consuming a diet that meets their energy and nutrient needs. The aim of the tool is to estimate the amount, combination and cost of local foods that are needed to provide individuals or families with a nutritious diet.

A Cost of the Diet assessment aims to answer the following questions:

  • Is it possible to meet energy and nutrient specifications using local foods?
  • If not, why not, or what nutrient specifications are hardest to meet?
  • What is the cost of the foods identified?
  • Is this diet affordable for all households?
  • And, if not, what might be done?


What’s new?
Over the last year, Save the Children has continued its investment in the Cost of the Diet tool. This includes fixes to ensure the software is more stable and reliable and introducing new features and functionality to create an improved experience for users. In summary, these are the ability to:

1. Change constraints in the assessment set-up
2. Clone existing foods
3. Change Portion Size, Frequency Constraints and Price at the Model Level
4. See a ‘Change History’ for Portions, Frequency Constraints and Prices in Models
5. Select Currency Conversion Rates for Reports, now using World Bank 2016 rates (previously 2013 rates).

How do I download the new tool?
To download the new version of the software for free, please click on the "Download Software" link above and register with us. If you've already been using the Cost of the Diet software, the next time you open the software you’ll be prompted to accept the new version. Your existing assessments will continue to work with the new features above, and the new exchange rates will automatically update.

If you have any questions please contact us at

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