Food consumption patterns are undergoing substantial change in many countries as economic development proceeds. The trend is a move away from traditional cereals towards higher‐value and higher‐protein foods. Explaining such changes only in terms of traditional economic variables can lead to biased estimates of income effects and perhaps biased projections of food demand. Household survey data from Indonesia are used to measure the importance of several socioeconomic variables in explaining differences in household food consumption patterns and nutrition. Household expenditure and the level of women’s education are shown to be the most influential in this explanation.