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Westernization of Asian Diets and the Transformation of Food Systems: Implications for research and policy

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Author Info

  • Prabhu Pingali

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

Abstract

Rapid economic and income growth, urbanization, and globalization are leading to a dramatic shift of Asian diets away from staples and increasingly towards livestock and dairy products, vegetables and fruit, and fats and oils. While the diversification of diets away from the traditional dominance of rice with rising incomes is expected and observed, current food consumption patterns are showing signs of convergence towards a Western diet. Globalization and the consequent global interconnectedness of the urban middle class, is the driving force behind the convergence of diets. The rapid spread of global supermarket chains and fast food restaurants are reinforcing the above trends. The following six key stylised facts characterize the changes in food demand in Asia: i) reduced per capita consumption of rice; ii) increased consumption per capita of wheat and wheat based products; iii) increased diversity in the food groups consumed; iv) rise in high protein and energy dense diets; v) increased consumption of temperate zone products; and vi) the rising popularity of convenience food and beverages. As the demand profile changes with economic growth and globalisation, so the supply systems must adapt to accommodate this change. Asian agriculture is on an irreversible path leading away from its traditional preoccupation with cereal crop production, especially rice, towards a production system that is becoming increasingly commercialized and diversified. This paper addresses the opportunities and constraints in the transformation process. It discusses the prospects for the small farmer to share in the benefits from greater market integration. Finally, the paper identifies an agenda for science, technology and policy that will allow for a smoother transition to the emerging production and food supply system.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA) in its series Working Papers with number 04-17.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fao:wpaper:0417

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Related research

Keywords: Asia; Demand; Diet; Diversification; Farming systems; Feeding preferences; Food consumption; Food production; Food security; Food supply; Home economics; Human nutrition; Marketing; Research; Rural development;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Huong, Pham Thi Mai & Hau, Nguyen Van & Kaufmann, Brigitte & Valle-Zarate, Anne & Mergenthaler, Marcus, 2009. "Emerging supply chains of indigenous pork and their impacts on small-scale farmers in upland areas of Vietnam," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51628, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  2. Liu, Jing & Shively, Gerald & Binkley, James, 2013. "Dietary Diversity in Urban and Rural China: An Endogenous Variety Approach," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149624, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  3. Melanie Fritz & Gerhard Schiefer, 2008. "Food chain management for sustainable food system development: a European research agenda," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 440-452.
  4. Minten, Bart & Singh, K.M. & Sutradhar, Rajib, 2011. "The rapid emergence of branding in food retail in Asia: Insights from Bihar (India)," MPRA Paper 54337, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 14 Jan 2011.
  5. Minten, Bart & Singh, K.M. & Sutradhar, Rajib, 2011. "Branding in food retail of high value crops in Asia: Case of Makhana from Bihar (India)," MPRA Paper 54349, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 31 Jan 2011.
  6. Khan, Shahbaz & Hanjra, Munir A. & Mu, Jianxin, 2009. "Water management and crop production for food security in China: A review," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 349-360, March.
  7. Minten, Bart & Tamru, Seneshaw & Engida, Ermias & Kuma, Tadesse, 2013. "Ethiopia’s value chains on the move: The case of teff:," ESSP working papers 52, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Ifft, Jennifer & Roland-Holst, David W. & Zilberman, David, 2009. "Valuation of Safety-Branded and Traceable Free Range Chicken in Ha Noi: Results from a Field Experiment," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49444, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  9. Minten, Bart & Singh, K.M. & Sutradhar, Rajib, 2010. "The makhana value chain and the fast emergence of branding in food retail: Evidence from Bihar (India)," MPRA Paper 54344, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 14 Jan 2010.
  10. Melanie Fritz & Gerhard Schiefer, 2008. "Innovation and system dynamics in food networks," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(3), pages 301-305.
  11. Elizaphan J.O. Rao & Matin Qaim, 2009. "Farmer participation in supermarket channels and technical efficiency: The case of vegetable production in Kenya," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 18, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  12. de Haen, Hartwig & Klasen, Stephan & Qaim, Matin, 2011. "What do we really know? Metrics for food insecurity and undernutrition," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 760-769.
  13. Minten, Bart & Reardon, Thomas & Vandeplas, Anneleen, 2009. "Linking urban consumers and rural farmers in India: A comparison of traditional and modern food supply chains," IFPRI discussion papers 883, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  14. Moustier, Paule & Tam, Phan Thi Giac & Anh, Dao The & Binh, Vu Trong & Loc, Nguyen Thi Tan, 2010. "The role of farmer organizations in supplying supermarkets with quality food in Vietnam," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 69-78, February.
  15. Mergenthaler, Marcus & Weinberger, Katinka & Qaim, Matin, 2009. "The food system transformation in developing countries: A disaggregate demand analysis for fruits and vegetables in Vietnam," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 426-436, October.
  16. Yen, Steven T. & Kasteridis, Panagiotis P. & Riley, John B., 2012. "Food Expenditures away from Home by Elderly Households," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124981, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  17. Waldron, Scott & Brown, Colin & Longworth, John, 2010. "A critique of high-value supply chains as a means of modernising agriculture in China: The case of the beef industry," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 479-487, October.
  18. Khan, S. & Khan, M.A. & Hanjra, M.A. & Mu, J., 2009. "Pathways to reduce the environmental footprints of water and energy inputs in food production," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 141-149, April.
  19. Gómez, Miguel I. & Ricketts, Katie D., 2013. "Food value chain transformations in developing countries: Selected hypotheses on nutritional implications," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 139-150.
  20. Waldron, Scott A. & Brown, Colin G. & Longworth, John W., 2009. "China’s Agricultural Modernisation Program: an assessment of its sustainability and impacts in the case of the high-value beef chain," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 50784, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  21. Hanjra, Munir A. & Qureshi, M. Ejaz, 2010. "Global water crisis and future food security in an era of climate change," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 365-377, October.

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