Urban food consumption temporal patterns using power law scaling

Jason West


We apply a variant of power law scaling to differentiate consumption patterns across major food categories in growing urban environments relative to rural environments. Using data from China over a 36-year period, we empirically demonstrate that there is a systematic dependence of urban food consumption on city population size. We derive a general function of food consumption based on the rate of urbanization that behaves with quantitative regularity manifest by urban efficiency gains. In urban areas, meat consumption increases by 80 percent while grain consumption declines by 16 percent with each doubling of population.


Power law; scaling; food consumption; urbanization

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18461/ijfsd.v15i1.I2

ISSN 1869-6945


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