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Abstract

As their incomes rise, Chinese consumers are changing their diets and demanding greater quality, convenience, and safety in food. Food expenditures grow faster than quantities purchased as income rises, suggesting that consumers with higher incomes purchase more expensive foods. The top-earning Chinese households appear to have reached a point where the income elasticity of demand for quantity of most foods is near zero. China’s food market is becoming segmented. The demand for quality by high-income households has fueled recent growth in modern food retail and sales of premium-priced food and beverage products. Food expenditures and incomes have grown much more slowly for rural and low-income urban households.

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