Many Asian countries are expected to undergo structural transformations in their economies and rapid urbanization over the next 25 years. The changes in tastes and lifestyles engendered by urban living are likely to have significant influences on food demand. Changes in marketing systems and occupational changes, closely linked with increasing GNP per capita, also may influence the demand for food. In this paper, estimates presented for Taiwan demonstrate that structural changes in food demand (as distinguished from changes due to income and price effects) have been significant factors driving the rapid changes in dietary patterns seen in East Asia over the past three decades. Because most previous demand studies have ignored the possible influence of structural shifts which are highly correlated with increases in per capita income over time, the effects of income on food demand have been overestimated. © 200 1 Elsevier Science B. V. All rights reserved.