Household consumption of staples falling: BBS

Urbanisation, rise in per capita income fuel change in food habit

FE Report | Published: May 20, 2019 10:00:27 | Updated: May 21, 2019 11:05:40

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The consumption of major staples at the household level is falling rapidly in the country, which is happening as people spend on foods outside homes.

This was revealed in the final version of the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) report, released last week.

The HIES report shows that rice consumption fell to 367.2 gramme per person a day in 2016, down by 49 gramme from 2010.

The wheat consumption dropped to 19.8 gramme per person daily, down by 6.0 gramme from 2010.

Usually, both food grains are considered substitute goods and the fall in one category means the rise in the other staples and vice versa.

Officials of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), who tracked the development, said that it happened due to the rise in consumption of fast food outside homes.

They said rapid urbanisation has caused a change in eating habits.

Dr Dipankar Roy, project director at the HIES, told the FE this is a global phenomenon.

"It is a new challenge not just for us, but for many countries as a result of rapid urbanisation," Dr Roy said.

On the other hand, economists said this is a new pattern of the household survey and this may be due to the rise in the purchasing power of the people.

They also said the BBS should work on it in detail and find the reasons behind the fall.

Dr Manzur Hossain, senior research fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), told the FE they also found the similar picture in another study on the consumption pattern conducted by the Institute.

"Consumption of such types of cereals will fall further in the days ahead," Mr Hossain predicted.

He said the consumption will fall both in rural and urban areas as the people consume at least once a day outside home.

"This development is nothing but an outcome of the increase in the purchasing power of the people," he added.

Md Younus, another senior research fellow at the BIDS, told the FE studies conducted by think tanks and research institutions also show the same trend.

He, however, said wheat consumption has increased in urban areas as people's health consciousness has increased.

"Even the rural people are consuming imported apple and orange, so it has an impact on the overall consumption," Dr Younus added.

In the meantime, the statistical agency is planning to include another section of questions while preparing the next HIES pertaining to the outside consumption.

"We're planning to include a new section in the questionnaire to identify the reasons and the amount people consume outside homes," Dr Roy of the BBS told the FE.


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