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

This research project is part of a series of funded projects within a bigger one called Drivers of Food Choice. 

More about

Drivers of Food Choice

View more about the entire project here


The last three decades have brought about globalized systems of food production and trade along with rapid urbanization and the expansion of retail markets. Together, these changes contribute to the ongoing modification and displacement of food environments in low- and middle-income countries. Individuals are now faced with complex decisions about what, where, how, when, and for whom to produce, obtain, prepare, distribute, and consume food, but decision-making is poorly understood in the context of the rapidly changing food environment. 



The purpose of the Drivers of Food Choice (DFC) competitive grants program is to facilitate, synthesize and disseminate research to provide a deep understanding of the drivers of food choice among the poor in developing countries in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa that account for 90% of the global burden of undernutrition. The projects that were funded through this grants program aim to strengthen country-level leadership in nutrition and foster a global community of food choice researchers


The DFC competitive grants program funded 15 research projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and South and South East Asia across two rounds of funding. 

The fifteen projects address the questions of what, how, and why food choices are made – the heart of the science of food choice – and examine one or more topics within the following categories of drivers: 1) sociocultural drivers, 2) food environment and food system drivers, and 3) policy, program, and intervention drivers.



This project aims to quantify aspects of women’s and men’s food choices and the burden of malnutrition in India. The data collection and analysis are based in Vijayapura, Southern India. 


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.


Sample: 324 urban and rural households. We will conduct interviews with women, men, and youths. 


Principal Investigator

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

Co- Investigator(s)

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

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

  • Nida I. Shaikh, PhD, RD, Assistant Professor, Georgia State University


Lead Institution

  • Emory University

Collaboration Institutions

  • BLDE University

  • University of Southern California


Learn more about our funded project

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