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food consumption, food production, food self-sufficiency, food measurement, food resources, cereal equivalents


The production of food is one of humanity’s fundamental and most critical endeavors, yet our understanding of its impact on limited global resources is not well developed. Food production supplies a basic human need, provides important employment for millions of the world’s poor, and generates significant export income for some countries, while using up valuable foreign exchange reserves for others. On the demand side, as population grows, demand for food grows commensurately. Even more importantly, as incomes grow, the per capita demand for food grows, and studies have shown that diet changes related to rising incomes result in a five-fold increase in food consumption per capita when measured in terms of resource use, or cereal equivalents. Following the publication of those studies, the authors received requests to clarify the calculation of specific cereal equivalent values. The purpose of this paper is to respond to these requests by detailing the methodology employed in the previous studies in order to allow other researchers to use this technique in their own work. We specify the required datasets, the individual calculations by food category, the adjustments necessary to measure country self-sufficiency in food, and the impact of GDP per capita on disaggregated food consumption measured in this way.

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Economics Commons



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