Urbanisation, dietary change and traditional food practices in Indonesia
This paper published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, uses panel data covering a period of 23 years to examine how changes in the urban environment relate to food expenditures, dietary diversity and traditional practices (food self-production and sharing) in Indonesia, a country that has experienced rapid economic growth and urbanisation over the last few decades. The nutrition transition hypothesis poses that as low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) become wealthier and more urbanised, they experience a shift in dietary consumption towards ‘Western’ diets high in sugars, fats, animal-source foods, processed and packaged products. This paper examines trends separately for urban and rural areas, and then use fixed effect models to examine whether change in urban residence is associated with changes in food expenditures, traditional practices, and overall dietary diversity. Results show that, despite some increases in acquisitions of animal-source foods and of packaged and ready-made foods, budget allocations for other food groups has remained constant, and that changes have largely occurred in parallel across urban and rural areas. In turn, traditional diets high in cereal and plant products, as well as traditional food practices continue to be dominant in both rural and urban areas, despite the context of rapid socio-economic change and urbanisation. Fixed effect regression suggests that transition from rural to urban residence is not significantly associated with changes in food expenditures for any of the outcomes examined.