Food for thought

Less is being spent on food but popularity of junk food is growing

Published: Saturday 15 October 2005

Ôûá Expenditure on food has gone down in India. The share of food in the monthly expenditure has fallen from 64 per cent in 1987-1988 to 54 per cent in 2003 in rural areas and from 56 per cent to 42 per cent in urban areas over the same period

Ôûá Of the little we spend, most is being spent on junk food. People are spending less even on staple foods such as cereals

Ôûá In rural areas, the share of cereals in total monthly per capita consumption expenditure (MPCE) (includes categories such as clothing and education besides food) fell from 26 per cent in 1987- 1988 to just 18 per cent in 2003. In urban areas, it fell from 15 per cent down to 10 per cent over the same period

Ôûá Interestingly, a person living in rural areas spends just Rs 10 on fruits but Rs 25 on beverages, refreshments and processed food. The total money spent each month on the latter category in rural India adds up to Rs 1,854 crore, while Rs 1,770 crore per month is spent by urban people --

Urban India

ÔûáThe average MPCE in urban India is Rs 1,022, out of which Rs 429 is spent on food. A major chunk of the latter — Rs 102 — is used to buy cereals and cereal substitutes. About 14 per cent (Rs 62) is spent on beverages, refreshments and processed food

Ôûá Inter-state variation in MPCE in urban areas is much less than that for rural parts of the country. Except for Bihar (Rs 338) and Uttar Pradesh (Rs 355), this expenditure is limited to the Rs 375 - Rs 500 range for other major states

Ôûá The share of food expenditure (as percentage of MPCE) is between 36 per cent and 50 per cent. People in urban Tamil Nadu spend the most on beverages, refreshments and processed food while the northeastern states spend the leastMonthly per capita consumption expenditure on beverages,

Rural India

Ôûá An average person living in rural India spends Rs 299 on food out of a MPCE of Rs 554

Ôûá People living in states like Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand are spending more than 60 per cent of their money on food

Ôûá State-wise, MPCE varies from Rs 225 to Rs 450. In 2003, people living in rural Orissa spent Rs 231 (58 per cent of their MPCE) on food while their counterparts in Kerala spent as much as Rs 441 (45 per cent of their MPCE)

Ôûá Rural Kerala spends the most on beverages, refreshments and processed food while rural Bihar spends the least

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

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.