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247. Rapidly Changing Food Choices in Low- and Middle-income Countries

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Over the past century, the global food system has undergone dramatic changes in response to urbanization, increased food production, and increased trade and distribution. For those involved in agriculture, nutrition and health, the biggest challenge over the next few decades will be to develop policies to achieve a sustainable and healthy diet. On top of this, knowledge of how individuals and households make food decisions in various situations is required. Food choices are not always rational and introspective, and depend on many factors in our daily lives. A better understanding of the factors that influence food choices can lead to appropriate policy recommendations.

The Global Food Security has published a paper on the science of food choice for rapidly changing food systems in low- and middle-income countries. This trend has been attributed to population growth, urbanization, and economic growth that leads to changes in lifestyle and accompanying changes in eating habits. The paper also noted that changes in the environment surrounding food, such as society, marketing, and increased income, affect changes in nutritional intake. Inexpensive, readily available and attractive foods are often energy-dense, nutrient poor and require less effort to prepare by the consumers. These changes will lead to a shift from a traditional nutritious diet to a diet rich in saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, and sodium, which have both the positive effects of dietary diversification and the negative effects of increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. In many low- and middle-income countries, negative dietary changes can contribute to a dual burden of chronic malnutrition and exacerbation of dietary habit-related nutritional problems such as non-communicable diseases.

As mentioned in a recent Pick Up article, based on the forecast of increased demand for animal foods due to economic growth in low- and middle-income countries, it is necessary to ensure the development of dietary habits that can maximize health and welfare in these countries. JIRCAS is also aiming to utilize high-quality and highly functional food resources in Asian countries such as Thailand, Laos and China, and is pursuing the characterization of traditional foods and development of technology that will lead to high added value food products.



Christine E. Blake et al. Elaborating the science of food choice for rapidly changing food systems in low-and middle-income countries, Global Food Security, Volume 28, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2021.100503.

Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Research Strategy Office)