Affluent households in India consume more calories from nonprocessed foods on average than all other households

A chart showing the difference in calories per day from non processed foods between affluent households and all other.

Policymakers and researchers are increasingly concerned with assessing the worldwide food-insecure population and the ways it may be changing. A common denominator in different approaches to assessing food insecurity is the measurement of calories consumed. A recent ERS analysis focuses on India, the country with the largest food-insecure population in the world. Despite India's rapid income growth over the past two decades, current estimates of the number of food-insecure people derived from aggregate production, trade, and income distribution data suggest that the country accounts for nearly 40 percent of the world's food-insecure population. For nonprocessed foods, India's affluent households (with income in the top 10th percentile) purchase an average of 315 more calories than all other households and also purchase significantly more expensive calories. Regardless of income level, the majority of nonprocessed calories purchased are derived from grain products and the amount of calories from grains is nearly identical. However, more affluent households purchased significantly more calories in every other food category. The data for this chart come from Estimating the Range of Food-Insecure Households in India, ERR-133, May 2012.

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