Indians spending less on food, says national survey

Saturday 22 June 2013

Total consumer expenditure on processed foods, beverages, and refreshments level has increased

Indians are eating badly; and the trend is getting worse each year. Data from the 68th round of the National Sample Survey (NSS) shows that the share of food in total expenditure has reduced both in rural and urban areas. This is despite the fact that food is getting progressively more expensive.

Spending more on unhealthy foods

Amongst the 14 food groups considered by the NSS, the share of beverages, refreshments and processed foods in total consumer expenditure in rural areas has increased from 4.2 per cent to 5.8 between 1993-94 and 2011-12. In urban areas, it has decreased marginally from 7.2 to 7.1 per cent. But urban Indians need not rejoice as between 2010-11 and 2011-12, the share of these products in total consumer expenditure increased from 6.3 to 7.1 per cent. This category includes tea, coffee, mineral water, soft drinks, fruit juice and soda water. Products such as cocoa, biscuits, cakes, pastries, pickles, sauce, jam, jelly and salted foods are also included. These foods are high in sugar, salt and fats, which have adverse health effects such as chronic diseases.

Consumer expenditure on different types of food (in percentage)

 

Rural

Urban

 

1993- 94

2011-12

1993-94

2011-12

Cereals

Gram

Cereal substitutes

Pulses & products

Milk & products

Edible oil

Egg, fish & meat

Vegetables

Fruits & nuts

Sugar

Salt & spices

Beverages

Food in total

24.2

0.2

0.1

3.8

9.5

4.4

3.3

6.0

1.7

3.1

2.7

4.2

63.2

12.0

0.2

0.1

3.1

9.1

3.8

3.6

4.8

1.9

1.8

2.4

5.8

48.6

14.0

0.2

0.1

3.0

9.8

4.4

3.4

5.5

2.7

2.4

2.0

7.2

54.7

.3

0.1

0.1

2.1

7.8

2.7

2.8

3.4

2.3

1.2

1.7

7.1

38.5



Food scores less all round

The data shows that the all-India estimate of average monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) on food was around Rs 1,430 for rural India and about Rs 2,630 for urban India. For the average rural Indian, food accounted for 52.9 per cent of the total consumption during 2011-12. This included 10.8 per cent for cereals and cereal substitutes, 8 per cent for milk and milk products, 7.9 per cent for beverages, refreshments and processed food, and 6.6 per cent for vegetables. For the average urban Indian, 42.6 per cent of the value of household consumption was  accounted for by food, including 9 per cent by beverages, refreshments and processed food,  7 per cent by milk and milk products, and 6.7 per cent by cereals and cereal substitutes.

The National Sample Survey carried out by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has provided data on consumption patterns in India for the ninth time. National sample surveys have been on in the country since 1972. The study was carried out in 7,469 villages in rural areas and 5,268 urban blocks spread over all states and Union Territories, except in interior villages of Nagaland and inaccessible villages in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
 

For more such important stories, subscribe to our print magazine and digital edition

Eat at your own risk

Eat at your own risk

Junk food is bad for health. Its definition tells its inner story—food that is high on calories and saturated fat but low on nutrition. 

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

Scroll To Top