Pro industry food safety and standards bill does not address safety concerns

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This is for all those who have switched from normal home-cooked food to takeaways. Rajma-chawal and dal-bhaat , or even the occasional pasta bake, have the right ingredients. Pizzas don't. And pizzas cost more. The point is all about what's happening to our consumption habits.

Less on food
What is clear is that Indians are spending more, but they are spending less on buying food. The National Sample Survey Organisation (nsso) has computed the monthly per capita consumption expenditure during 2004 to find that rural Indians spend roughly 57 per cent on food-related items, while urban Indians spend 46 per cent.

More on beverages and processed food
More importantly, the household food budget has been thinned out to buy less cereals and spend more on beverages, refreshments and processed food. Rural India spends Rs 37 on buying processed food and beverages, which is 10 per cent of its food expenditure in the month, on an average, across all categories of households. Urban India spends Rs 101, or roughly 20 per cent of its food expenditure. Both urban and rural India spend more on buying processed food and beverages, than they do on buying fruit for the family. In the case of urban India, the spend on processed food is even greater than that of the vegetables it buys each month. It certainly spends more on beverages than it does on milk and milk products. Desiring the lucrative and fast-growing market, food processors and retailers, including multinationals, have pulled out all stops to extend their business across the country. India is the only place where Pizza Hut has opened fully vegetarian eateries.

Eating differently


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Food habits are changing. In 1987-1988, rural India spent 26 per cent on cereals but by 2004, it was spending only 16 per cent on cereals. In the same period, its spending on processed food and beverages went from 4 per cent to 6 per cent of its food expenditure. Urban India reduced its spending on cereals from 15 per cent to 9 per cent of its food expenditure, while processed food and beverages increased from 7 per cent to 9 per cent of the household expenditure on food.

Rich, poor: No difference
What makes the food industry salivate is the fact that this spending is not restricted to the elite. This is