How Income Affects Food Habits Amongst Indians


How Income Affects Food Habits Amongst Indians

Hello All!!

Way back in school I had learnt in an economics class that as income increases the purchasing power of an individual also increases. Simple logic! Say you got your salary today and it is Rs.5000 more than your regular salary of Rs.30,000, you are bound to spend it on things you were longing for a while. The same way with changes in income there are changes in food habits too! Don’t worry I won’t bore you with economics! This post aims at finding out how income affects the food habits in Indians. Hop on!

Recently in an official survey done to measure the levels of consumption of households it was found that people’s food choices varied with income levels.

How Income Affects Food Habits Amongst Indians

1) As people and the nation grow richer, the amount of cereals consumed is lesser and people tend to go in for processed foods (like bread and chips). It has been found in the survey that on an average the richest urbanites (5% of the population) consume two bags of chips in one month. I feel you need not be rich to consume 2 bags of chips in a month 😛 There are people who consume 2 bags of chips in a day!

2)As people get richer, they also start consuming more meats, eggs, fish, milk, and other foods that are rich in nutrients. Each individual of urban India falling in the top 5% consumes approximately 1.5 kg of various meats per month, and if it is a family of four, it works out to be more than 6 kg per family! On the other hand, the poorest 5% of individuals of rural India consume a little more than 100 gm of meats per person per month, with fish and chicken topping the list.

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Richer Indians with more purchasing power have also begun to eat lesser quantities of potatoes and more of spinach and fruits. That is good in one way! At least a part of India is getting health conscious 🙂 Efforts need to be made to enable rural India to have access to healthy food. By the way, on one hand urbanites are consuming processed foods and on the other hand they are replacing potatoes with spinach and fruits, quite contradictory!

3)Generally speaking, rural India has been found to be consuming more rice and wheat than urban India. There is a decline in the cereal consumption across the country over time. This is believed to be in sync with the global trend of a decline in consumption of cereals. People are getting richer and are eating more meats and processed stuff. Individuals are leading a more sedentary lifestyle today. However, the decline in consumption of cereals is not that sharp even with high income groups and it doesn’t decline in rural India. This is because in rural India, when people get richer they consume more cereals.


4)Coming to alcohol, even in urban India’s highest income distribution grou p, people drink an average of less than 100 ml per month of beer and an average of a little more than two small pegs of foreign liquor. Not bad, at least on an average liquor is not something that people are consuming too much of!

5)Urban India smokes more cigarettes and rural India is still smoking beedis.

The national survey has been done on the basis of 1 lakh households in each state and union territory of the country. It is just a glimpse of what kind of food is being consumed by urban and rural India.

Hope you found this post informative!

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