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Food consumption choice and demand by the Sri Lankan households: Trends, drivers and policy implications


  • Asankha Pallegedara


Purpose - Food consumption patterns have changed in many Asian countries over the past two–three decades. It is important to understand the changes in food consumption patterns and its drivers in different country settings as each country has different food cultures, tastes and habits. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to examine the patterns and determinants of food consumption choice and demand in Sri Lanka. Design/methodology/approach - Using Household Income and Expenditure Survey 1990/1991, 2002 and 2012/2013 data, this study explores the relationship between food consumption patterns and the observed changes reported in per capita income, urbanization, structural transformations and demographics. Specifically, present study estimates the probability of consuming main food items such as rice, bread, dhal, vegetables and fish using a multivariate probit model and also estimates income and price elasticities of household major food items by applying Quadratic Almost Ideal Demand System. Findings - This study demonstrates that per capita income, food prices, education level of the household heads, rural–urban affiliation and ethnic background significantly affect the consumption decision of the major food items. Sri Lankan households in general seem to consider that rice and dhal are necessary commodities, whereas bread and fish are luxury commodities. Research limitations/implications - The lack of panel data and several missing districts in two survey rounds for analysis are limitations of the study. Originality/value - To the author’s knowledge, this is the first study for Sri Lanka that examines food consumption choice and demand using nationwide data for the last two decades. This study applies novel econometric techniques to account for various issues in data analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Asankha Pallegedara, 2019. "Food consumption choice and demand by the Sri Lankan households: Trends, drivers and policy implications," Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 9(5), pages 520-535, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jadepp:jadee-01-2019-0014

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    Sri Lanka; Income; Urban; Food consumption; Households;


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