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The Growing Middle Class In Developing Countries And The Market For High-Value Food Products


  • Senauer, Benjamin
  • Goetz, Linde


The central hypothesis of this paper is that the largest global growth opportunity for high-value food products is the emerging middle class in many developing countries. Using data for Lima, Peru, 20 percent of households are classified as middle or upper class based on the prevalence of ownership of major durable goods, such as refrigerators and automobiles. Monthly expenditures by the middle class on more expensive foods, such as fresh fruit and red meat, and especially for high value-added products, such as food away from home, are substantially higher, markedly so in some cases. By extrapolating from these results for Lima, a minimum per capita gross national income (GNI) of $6,000 is required for an emerging middle class lifestyle. Based on World Bank data for GNI and income distribution, the size of the middle class is estimated for eleven low and middle income countries with large populations or high rates of economic growth. In China there are some 290 million people in the emerging middle class, in India 91 million and in Brazil 58 million, for example.

Suggested Citation

  • Senauer, Benjamin & Goetz, Linde, 2003. "The Growing Middle Class In Developing Countries And The Market For High-Value Food Products," Working Papers 14331, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:umrfwp:14331

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Forsund, Finn R. & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1980. "A survey of frontier production functions and of their relationship to efficiency measurement," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 5-25, May.
    2. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
    3. Bauer, Paul W., 1990. "Recent developments in the econometric estimation of frontiers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 39-56.
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    Cited by:

    1. Céline BONNEFOND & Matthieu CLEMENT, 2015. "Does social class affect nutrition knowledge and food preferences among Chinese urban adults?," Working Papers 2014-2015_10, CATT - UPPA - Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, revised Apr 2015.
    2. Singh, Nirvikar, 2005. "The Idea of South Asia and the Role of the Middle Class," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3868p628, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    3. Steffen Dyck & Syetarn Hansakul & Rachna Saxena, 2009. "Emerging Asia's Middle Class-A Force to be Reckoned With," Working Papers id:2232, eSocialSciences.
    4. Gale, H. Frederick, Jr. & Huang, Kuo S., 2007. "Demand For Food Quantity And Quality In China," Economic Research Report 7252, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    5. Larry Digal & Glory Dee Romo & Thomas Reardon, 2009. "The Transformation of Food Retail in the Philippines," Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), vol. 6(2), pages 51-84, December.
    6. Riungu, Claris Karimi, 2011. "Effects of Supermarkets on Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Small-Scale Farmers in Central Kenya," Research Theses 134484, Collaborative Masters Program in Agricultural and Applied Economics.
    7. Gale, H. Frederick, Jr., 2006. "Food Expenditures by China's High-Income Households," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 37(01), March.
    8. Tsiry ANDRIANAMPIARIVO, 2014. "Moderate Prosperity, an adaptation of the Middle Class concept to a Malagasy rural area: the case of Itasy," Cahiers du GREThA 2014-20, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    9. Andy Sumner, 2012. "The Buoyant Billions: How “Middle Class†Are the New Middle Classes in Developing Countries? (And Why Does It Matter?)," Working Papers id:5169, eSocialSciences.
    10. Senauer, Benjamin & Venturini, Luciano, 2005. "The Globalization of Food Systems: A Conceptual Framework and Empirical Patterns," Working Papers 14304, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
    11. Andy Sumner, 2012. "The Buoyant Billions: How “Middle Class” Are the New Middle Classes in Developing Countries? (And Why Does It Matter?)," Working Papers 309, Center for Global Development.


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