Patterns and trends in food consumption in poor urban and rural households in Bangladesh: major food sector studies
PublisherBRAC Research and Evaluation Division (RED)
MetadataShow full item record
CitationHalder, S. R., & Urey, I. (2003, September). Patterns and trends in food consumption in poor urban and rural households in Bangladesh: major food sector studies. Research Reports (2003): Economic Studies, Vol – XX, 122–242.
This paper examines six major food sectors in Bangladesh namely rice, wheat, fishery, poultry, dairy, and fruits and vegetables, concentrating on production and consumption changes with evidence from the BRAC/Imperial household survey, together with insights from focus group discussions. The nature of the marketing and processing chains are also discussed together with key issues affecting the sectors. The food sector study results indicate a growing divide between the consumption patterns of the deficit group and the surplus group. The contrast is most marked between the rich and poor living in urban areas and upazila centres. Those living in these areas are more market dependent and vulnerable to price fluctuations. The diet of the poor seems to be contracting in diversity, with rice increasingly dominating consumption, though in urban areas there is some substitution with wheat based products for convenience and possibly as a cheaper food source, as no fuel expense is entailed. All the high protein items, especially animal products are beyond the means of the poor for consumption on a regular basis, as demand from the growing urban population draws produce into the market where the price is too high for the poor. For many, vegetables appear to be the only remaining high protein food item. The urban poor appear to be the most vulnerable without any access to home production. For the surplus groups living close to centres and with good market access, dietary diversity and the quality of produce consumed appear to be improving. Consumption of high protein items is increasing as markets are facilitating greater availability in urban areas. Also consumption of processed, packaged and branded items is becoming a regular feature of this group, and there is evidence of a dispersion of this trend into more remote and less rich/surplus areas.