Nutrition Transition and the Structure of Global Food Demand uri icon

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. The resulting model is estimated statistically based on cross- sectional information from FAOSTAT. The model 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: ( a) global food demand will increase by 47%, less than half the growth in the previous four decades; ( b) this growth will be attributable mainly to lower- middleincome and low- income countries; ( c) the structure of global food demand will change over the period, with a doubling of demand for animal- based calories and a much smaller 19% increase in demand for starchy staples; and ( d) 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 74% to 114%, and from 20% to 42%, respectively.

publication date

  • 2019
  • 2019