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Consumer demand for diet quality: evidence from the healthy eating index

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  • Zhifeng Gao
  • Xiaohua Yu
  • Jonq-Ying Lee

Abstract

Few studies have been performed to use the detailed healthy eating index (HEI) to estimate consumer demand for diet quality. In this article, we apply household production theory to systematically estimate consumer demand for diet quality using the HEI developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The results show that consumers have insufficient consumption of food containing dark green and orange vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Age and education have a significant impact on consumer demand for diet quality, but income does not. The own-price elasticities of demand for diet quality are inelastic. Simulation of tax scenarios indicates that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverage may be more efficient than a tax on fats, oils and salad dressing in improving consumer diet quality. This information is critical for policies and programs that are designed to improve healthy food choices, thereby reducing the social cost of public health.
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Suggested Citation

  • Zhifeng Gao & Xiaohua Yu & Jonq-Ying Lee, 2013. "Consumer demand for diet quality: evidence from the healthy eating index," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 57(3), pages 301-319, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ajarec:v:57:y:2013:i:3:p:301-319
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-8489.2012.00619.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:spr:agfoec:v:5:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s40100-017-0076-y is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Dong, Zefeng & Gao, Zhifeng & Lee, Jonq-Ying, 2015. "Food Choice and Sodium Intake in the American Diet," 2015 Annual Meeting, January 31-February 3, 2015, Atlanta, Georgia 196695, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    3. Radwan, Amr & Gil, Jose M., 2015. "Can Price Intervention Policies Improve Diet Quality in Spain?," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212698, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Tian, Xu & Yu, Xiaohua, 2015. "Using semiparametric models to study nutrition improvement and dietary change with different indices: The case of China," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 67-81.

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