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Nutrition transition and the structure of global food demand

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  • Christophe Gouel
  • Houssein Guimbard

Abstract

Estimating future demand for food is a critical aspect of global food security analyses. The process linking dietary changes to wealth is known as the nutrition transition and presents well-identified features that help to predict consumption changes in poor countries. This study proposes to represent the nutrition transition with a nonhomothetic, flexible-in-income, demand system, known as the Modified Implicitly Directly Additive Demand System (MAIDADS). The resulting model is transparent and estimated statistically based on cross-sectional information from FAOSTAT. It captures the main features of the nutrition transition: rise in demand for calories associated with income growth; diversification of diets away from starchy staples; and a large increase in caloric demand for animal-based products, fats, and sweeteners. The estimated model is used to project food demand between 2010 and 2050 based on a set of plausible futures (trend projections and Shared Socioeconomic Pathways scenarios). The main results of these projections are as follows: (1) global food demand will increase by 46%, less than half the growth in the previous four decades; (2) this growth will be attributable mainly to lower-middle-income and low-income countries; (3) the structure of global food demand will change over the period, with a 95% increase in demand for animal-based calories and a much smaller 18% increase in demand for starchy staples; and (4) the analysis of a range of population and income projections reveals important uncertainties: depending on the scenario, the projected increases in demand for animal-based and vegetal-based calories range from 78 to 109% and from 20 to 42%, respectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Christophe Gouel & Houssein Guimbard, 2017. "Nutrition transition and the structure of global food demand," Working Papers 2017-05, CEPII research center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cii:cepidt:2017-05
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    1. repec:nbr:nberch:13942 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Fukase,Emiko & Martin,William J., 2017. "Economic growth, convergence, and world food demand and supply," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8257, The World Bank.
    3. Cecilia Bellora & Élodie Blanc & Jean-Marc Bourgeon & Eric Strobl, 2018. "Estimating the Impact of Crop Diversity on Agricultural Productivity in South Africa," NBER Chapters,in: Agricultural Productivity and Producer Behavior National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bennett’s law; food demand; food security; nutrition transition;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices

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