India baffles food analysts.
Despite strong economic growth in the 1990s and 2000s, expenditures on food (~500 Rs /person/month urban), caloric intake (~2300 Kcal /day/person) and meat consumption (between 3,5 and 5 kg/person/year, depending on the source) have not changed significantly.
Why do Indians behave differently than all other fast growing economies?
Could it be that statistics do not capture reality? Different analyses by different unrelated organizations tend to show the same overall trend.
Could the cause be cultural/religious?
40% of Indians are vegetarians, and significant parts of the population have religious objections either against eating beef, either eating pork.
Currently FAO estimates that meat consumption in India will triple to 18 kg /person/year,
by 2050, mostly coming from poultry, but that even with such a high relative growth, total meat consumption will still be only 15% of U.S. meat consumption today.
This is an important issue for the overall food balance in the world.
World agriculture towards 2030/2050: the 2012 revision
Nikos Alexandratos and Jelle Bruinsma
Global Perspective Studies Team
FAO Agricultural Development Economics Division
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