Food Choice in Indian Households in the Context of the Nutrition Transition


The goal of this project is to quantify aspects of women’s and men’s food choices relevant for addressing the dual burden of malnutrition in India through data collection and analysis based in Vijayapura, a remote district in Southern India that globalization is just reaching. The objectives are to: 1) Quantify the importance of factors including price, satiety, taste, reputation, and subsidies as proximate drivers of food choice in the context of globalizing food markets; 2) Identify the conditions under which women and men select global vs. traditional foods, and how variations in these conditions can alter selections; 3) Assess the role of the public distribution system (PDS) as a driver of food choices and its implications for intake and for advancing nutrition transition. In a representative sample of 324 urban and rural households, we will conduct interviews with women, men, and youths. Data instruments will include experimental methods to elicit drivers of food choice in different scenarios and to valuate PDS bundles and a food frequency questionnaire to measure intake and nutrition transition. We will use quantitative and qualitative methods to explore gender differences and communication relating to food choices and food intake.

Lead Institution

Emory University

Collaborating Institutions

BLDE University; University of Southern California

Principal Investigator(s)

> Solveig A. Cunningham, PhD, MSc., Associate Professor, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University


Ashlesha Datar, PhD., Senior Economist, University of Southern California 

Shailaja S. Patil, M.D., Professor in the Department of Community Medicine, Sri B. M. Patil Medical College, BLDE University 

Posters and Presentations

Cunningham et al (2018). Pocket money spending patterns among adolescents in India. 3rd Agriculture, Nutrition & Health (ANH) Academy Week 25 – 29 June 2018 – Accra, Ghana.

“Public Distribution System as a Driver of Food Choice: Evidence from a District in South India.” By U, Doddihal, C., Marad, M., Datar, A., Cunningham, SA. 4th Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy Week, Hyderabad, India, 24-28 June 2019.

Understanding Food Choices in the Context of Globalizing Food OptionsBy Cunningham, SA. 4th Agriculture, Nutrition & Health (ANH) Academy Week 24 – 28 June 2019 – Hyderabad, India