How pervasive is eating out in India?

Author name: 
Raghav Gaiha
Raghbendra Jha
Vani S. Kulkarni

A key feature of the economic transformation has been the change in the nature of the Indian diet. As global markets integrate and communication becomes better, diet transitions are unavoidable. There is a move away from inferior to superior foods and a substitution of traditional staples by primary food products that are more prevalent in western diets. These shifts are reflected in higher consumption of proteins, sugars, fats and vegetables. As part of this dietary transition, our analysis focuses on the pervasiveness of eating out. The analysis, based on a rich household survey for 2005, conducted jointly by University of Maryland and National Council of Applied Economic Research, broadly confirms the important role of urbanisation, demographic changes, expansion of middle class and its growing affluence in eating out, or, more generally, consumption of snacks, precooked meals and beverages. To the extent that even more deprived sections-not just in metros but also in rural areas- are not immune to these evolving dietary patterns, and, given their limited access to medical care and dietary awareness, the health outcomes may well be grim

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