Harmonizing data from the UK expenditure and food survey and the National food survey: an application to fruit and vegetable demand
Given the increasing obesity rates and incidence of diet-related ill health in western countries, unhealthy eating and food consumption have recently entered the policy agenda of most European governments and reliable information on food consumption patterns has become highly desirable for policy makers. The present work focuses on the UK which has experienced the most dramatic increase in obesity rates in Europe in the last 15 years. The papers illustrates the harmonization of two different sources of data on food consumption which has produced an unique multiple cross-sections dataset containing purchases information for more than 250 food items, recorded on about 6000 households each year, over 13 years (from 1997 to 2009). Potential helpfulness of the new dataset is here demonstrated through a preliminary analysis on fruit and vegetable consumption: a demand system for fruit and vegetables and price elasticities are estimated. The availability of this unique dataset clears the way to a large range of potential analysis which might result very informative for policy purposes.
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