This paper is a first attempt to analyze whether convergence of food consumption between Eastern and Western Europe since the beginning of transition can be detected. The study refers to the 10 EU-associated Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) and the EU-15. If convergence is a fact, changes in EU food consumption could be a useful indicator for future food consumption patterns in the CEECs. With the end of the socialist era, prices and income have become major determinants of food consumption and the total per capita calorie consumption, as well as the calorie share of animal products, have declined in most CEECs. At the same time, many products that could not be purchased in the past have become available, trade has risen significantly, and foreign direct investment in the food industry and in the distribution sector of the CEECs has become increasingly relevant. This has triggered demonstration effects that suggest convergence of food consumption. Empirical studies on convergence focus either on cross-country comparisons of general trends in food consumption, or they seek to explicitly measure the degree of similarity of the consumption structures and convergence in the structure of food consumption. This paper analyzes convergence in the consumption levels, as well as the structure of food consumption. For this purpose, several indicators have been calculated and pooled regression analyses have been run. The results give a first indication that convergence has occurred, although this does not hold for all CEECs or all food commodities.


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