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Chapter III

CONSUMPTION PATTERN SCENARIO:


INDIA AND KERALA
Contents
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
3.4.1
3.4.2
3.4.3
3.4.4
3.4.5
3.4.6
3.4.7
3.4.8
3.4.9
3.4.9.1
3.4.9.2
3.4.9.3
3.4.9.4
3.5
3.6
3.7
3.8
3.8.1
3.8.2
3.9
3.10
3.11
3.11.1
3.12
3.12.1
3.12.2
3.13
3.14
3.14.1
3.14.2
3.14.3
3.14.4
3.14.5
3.14.6
3.15

Introduction
Historical Perspectives
Growth in Consumption in India
Reasons for the booming Consumption Pattern
Keeping up with the global Joneses
Rising volumes, not prices
Sachets; Small is beautiful and affordable too
Borrowing to buy
The rise of retailing
The present scenario in retailing
The mall boom
The direct selling revolution
Emerging opportunities
The bulging middle class
The young and the affluent
Changing life style and status acquisitions
Policies
Emergence of Consumerism in India
Household Consumption Pattern in India
Declining Food Expenditure
Shift in Budget share in Rural and Urban India
Rural India
Urban India
Consumption Scenario in Kerala
Growth Behaviour of Net Domestic product by Economic Activity
Consumption in Transition
Changes in per capita consumption
Shift in Share of budget to Food and Nonfood items
Consumption pattern in rural Kerala
Urban Kerala
A Comparative Analysis
Changing Food Habits
Breakfast
Lunch and dinner
Meat and meat products
Fish foods
Changing life style
Extravagance
Conclusion
Notes and References
Concepts and Definitions
References

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CONSUMPTION PATTERN SCENARIO:


INDIA AND KERALA
3.1 Introduction
India is the second most populous country in the world with an estimated
population of more than 1.2 billion and it may, at current rates of growth, be the
most populated country within a decade. Indias market potential is greater than
that of many countries in Western Europe with more middleclass consumers and
increasing local purchasing power (Kulkarni, 1993). Since the liberalization
bandwagon began to roll during the early nineties, India made a dramatic transition
from being a supply constrained to a demand driven economy. With a large middle
class population and their rising level of affluence, the country has one of the
largest consumer markets across the globe and is reckoned to be at par with the
other Asian behemoth, China. India today offers tremendous market potential with
a rapid growth rate in a wide range of products. It is one of the largest economies
in the world in terms of purchasing power and has a strong middle class base of
300 million. It has a strong MNC presence and is characterised by a well
established distribution network, intense competition between the organised and
unorganised segments and low operational cost. Availability of key raw materials,
cheaper labour and presence across the entire value chain gives India a competitive
advantage.
3.2. The Historical Perspective
India was a British colony from 1850 until it gained independence in 1947;
during this time Indias economy was an intertwined element of the powerful
British imperial economy (Marshall, 2011). At the time of independence the
condition of India was very poor, fiscal crisis, continuous stagnation, other
economic problems that badly hit the economy which called for an urgent solution.
India had been used primarily as a provider of raw materials to feed Britains
booming industrial sector, and thus had never fully achieved its own modernized
manufacturing industry and lacked general infrastructure. (Rebecca et al , 2011).
The main problem of post independent India was how to modernize and develop its
economy. Therefore, efforts were made to create an effective economic structure

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for rapid development of the economy through the instruments of economic


planning. Economic planning has helped the development of the country. The
planned expenditure in private and public sectors has changed the socio economic
profile of the country. A major portion of investment expenditure went into the
hands of the people as remuneration for participation in economic activities. This
led to an increase in their income and consequently the purchasing power. This
increase in purchasing power enabled them to purchase more consumer goods. An
important issue that arose out of planned development was to create a proper
balance between demand for and supply of consumer goods. Unless provision is
made for meeting their increased demand, prices may rise and it will create
inflationary pressure in the economy. On the other hand, industrial production not
only increased but a number of new and non traditional commodities were
introduced in the market. Therefore, producers were in search of customers.
Failure to market their product would lead to depression or production below their
installed capacity. Such imbalance between demand and supply may hamper
economic development.
The problem of matching demand and supply may be solved by optimal
functioning of the economic system. It depends upon the matching of the capability
and efficiency levels obtained by its productive and distributive system. In other
words production and distribution activities meet each other at par and go hand in
hand. Productive unit would produce that quantity which will easily meet the
demand of the people. And distributive agencies will manage the sale of such
production efficiently. Because of increased production and introduction of similar
type commodities industries started facing the problem in marketing their
production. This problem may be solved by enlarging the market.
In post independence period Government of India introduced a number of
measures to minimize the economic disparity between the rich and the poor and to
improve the quality of life of rural masses. These measures included agricultural
development programmes, rural industrialization, mass education and other social
developmental activities through State and other voluntary organisations. All these
factors have introduced some changes in the life of the rural people. Change in

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consumption pattern is one of them. The process of economic development has


opened new avenues of income for rural people and education has broadened their
horizon resulting in changed lifestyles and demand for new commodities in their
consumption pattern.
3.3. Growth in Consumption in India
The consumer goods market has undergone a sea change over the last 10
years with large numbers of competing international brands and Indian
manufactures offering a wide choice of goods like air conditioners, refrigerators,
TV sets, car, two- wheelers, clothing, food and cosmetics. Competition, however,
also means attractive prices and greater value to the consumer. In Indian
automobile industry, one of Indias largest and fastest growing consumer sectors,
the depth of penetration of global brands and the level of competition in the market
is extremely high. Since the 1990s, around two dozen global auto brands have been
established in India, including Hero-Honda Motors, Yamaha Motor India Kinetic
Engineering, competing with local brands such as TVS Motor and Bajaj Auto.
Figure 3.1
Growth in consumption spending

16

12
-1
7
10

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

Note: Growth figures are in percent


Source: KSA Techno Pak Consumer Outlook 2004
3.4 Reasons for the Booming Consumption Pattern.
The trend in aggregate consumer spending corroborates the consumption
boom in the economy. The rate of growth of spending on discretionary items

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(unlike basic necessities like food) has been growing at an average of 9 per cent
per year over the past five years. Significantly, the rate of growth has been
recording a sharp spurt during the past two years. Historically, a nation of savers,
India has now become a nation of spenders (IBEF).
3.4.1 Keeping up with the global Joneses
The Indian consumption pattern is also slowly converging with global
norms. The Indian consumer is now spending more on consumer durables, apparel,
entertainment, vacations and lifestyle related activities. Entertainment, clothing and
dining out are categories that have been witnessing a maximum rise in consumer
spending since 2002. Globally, it is observed that as the income levels rise, the
share spent on food and grocery in the total household income declines and the
proportion of income spent on lifestyle related activities increases.
3.4.2 Rising volumes, not prices
The domestic consumer product markets have become intensely
competitive both in the durables and non- durables Fast Moving Consumer Goods
(FMCG) segments. In an environment where supply is no longer a constraint,
consumers are demanding more and better products at much lower prices. Thus,
prices in these categories have been sluggish and in some cases have even declined
over the past few years. ( Report by Crisil)
3.4.3 Sachets: Small is beautiful and affordable too
Affordability is crucial in Indias farm dependent economy, where twothirds of the billion plus population live off the land and often buy daily supplies.
To reach a larger populace, especially in rural areas where people are usually daily
wage earners, selling products at lower prices , small packs, is the best way to get a
share of their wallets. From shampoos, toothpastes and detergents to food products
like jams, ketchup and coffee, everything comes in sachets and costs as little as
Rs. 2 to Rs.10. Small pack sales have turned out to be a great success and a have a
major share in the top lines of marketers.

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3.4.4 Borrowing to buy


The Indian consumer has been traditionally hesitant about debt but his
mindset is changing rapidly. Consumer loans from banks for an array of consumer
purchase ranging from cars to holidays, is now an accepted payment method. The
popular concept of Equal Monthly Instalments (EMIs) with predictable and
planned outflows is making indebtedness more acceptable. The falling interest rate
regime has also given credit off take a big leg-up. However, not all of this has
come from direct consumer loans, as credit cards too have played a major role.
There are over 9 million credit card users in the country and this market is growing
at a healthy rate of 25 per cent annually.
3.4.5 The rise of retailing
The retailing space has historically been dominated by the unorganized
sector largely by small sized shops clustered together in a market. The most
important change in the retailing pattern that led to the boom in consumer spending
has been the rise of organized retailing. According to a report by global consulting
firm AT Kearney, (American Management Company) India takes the second place
globally in the retail development index. Other international reports too affirm the
AT Kearney ranking. According to a Knight Frank survey, India ranks fifth
amongst the 30 emerging retail markets in the developing countries.
3.4.6 The present scenario in retailing
At present the organized retail activity is concentrated mainly in the
apparel, food and beverages and entertainment segment .Apart from providing a
spacious, pleasant atmosphere to shop, department stores have employed a variety
of strategies to boost sales and profitability. These include:
a) Strong emphasis on retail technology. All department stores have spent a lot
of money on state of the art IT systems covering the entire areas of operations
like merchandise management, interaction with vendors, and stock planning.
This has helped these stores in managing the complexities of interacting with
a large number of suppliers, running various stores and warehouses and
selling a large number of products to a broad consumer base.

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b) Loyalty schemes: Most department stores offer loyalty schemes to promote


repeat purchases and build a loyal customer base. Customers, who join such
schemes, are eligible for a variety of benefits such as accumulation of points
against purchases for redemption on subsequent purchases, special offers,
product previews, quick billing and so on. Such schemes also enable
department stores to analyse customer buying patterns which help in
formulating future strategies.
c) Concessions: Several department stores are offering space in their stores to
other retailers selling various products and services including music, books
and coffee. This increases the range of products/ service available in these
stores, thus, enhancing their customer appeal without the problems related to
direct retailing such as supply chain and stock management.
d) Private labels: In the clothing segment, many department stores have been
selling their own brands in addition to other well known brands, both national
and international. Private labels are much more profitable and also enable
stores to offer substantial price discounts and promotional offer to attract
customers.
3.4.7 The mall boom
Another notable trend is the development of integrated retail cumentertainment centres or shopping malls. While the number of shopping malls has
seen a massive surge in the recent past in the metros and their suburbs, the latest
trend in this sector is the increasing focus on providing leisure activities such as
multiplexes, facilities for kids entertainment, eateries etc. within the mall
premises. These are enclosed, air conditioned, multi level malls of at least 100000
sq. Ft.
3 .4.8. The direct selling revolution
Direct selling does away with the need for a retailing intermediary and
reaches out to the consumer at his house through a sales agent. With the boom in
the consumption pattern, this is another concept that has come of age in the
country. India is the fastest growing direct selling market in the world. From the

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perspective of employment and other economic linkages, the direct selling model
has critical benefits since 90 percent of the goods sold in the country are sourced
from the small scale sector and as many as 70 per cent of the direct selling is
concentrated in the field of cosmetics, household products, cookware and health
food.
3.4.9 Emerging opportunities
A slew of factors are catalyzing the growth in consumption, namely the
burgeoning middle class with a high level of disposable income, over a half- abillion youth, a good percentage of them affluent, the BPO boom and the resultant
thickening of their wallets and exposure to foreign culture etc.
3.4.9.1 The bulging middle class
One of the key reasons for the increased consumption is the impressive
growth of the middle class between 1990 and 2008. The middle class grew by
more than 2.05 million people. The Indian government hopes to harness the
potential of the middle class as consumers and subsequent drivers of growth (The
Hindu 2010. This is very much in keeping with the Westernstyle economic model
India seems to have been emulating in recent years. This backing as well as the
number of people that now comprise the middle class means that this group is
having a strong impact on Indian culture and consumption.
3.4.9.2 The young and the affluent
The age structure of Indias population is also favourable, nearly 80% of
Indias population is under the age of 45, 54% under the age of 25 (Ryan 2006).
3.4.9.3 Changing lifestyles and status acquisitions
A younger, more affluent workforce implies a whole range of possibilities
for consumer markets. Two elements are particularly critical- the need for variety
and the growing phenomenon of status acquisitions. In the telecom sector, the rise
in connectivity from 2 million to 30 million between 2001 and 2003 was matched
by the proliferation of a growing number of handset models. The clamour is for
newer, sleeker handsets with an increasing number of premium add-on features.

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The mid size and executive segment of the passenger car market has seen a similar
boom with a slew of new models being rolled out during 2003 alone, with as many
as six models being introduced in the executive and mid-sized segments during
the year.
3.4.9.4 Policies
India has enacted policies aimed at attaining international competitiveness
through lifting of the quantitative restrictions, reduced excise duties, automatic
foreign investment and food laws resulting in an environment that fosters growth.
100 per cent export oriented units can be set up by government approval and use of
foreign brand names is now freely permitted. The Indian government has abolished
licensing for almost all food and agro-processing industries except for some items
like alcohol, cane sugar, hydrogenated animal fats and oils etc., and items reserved
for the exclusive manufacture in the Small Scale Industry (SSI) sector.
3.5. Emergence of Consumerism in India
Consumerism is defined as a social force to protect consumer interests in
the marketplace by organizing consumer pressures on business. In fact,
consumerism is a protest of consumers against unfair business practices and
business injustices. It aims to remove those injustices, and eliminate those unfair
marketing practices, e.g. misbranding, spurious products, unsafe products, planned
obsolescence, adulteration, fictitious pricing, price collusion, deceptive packaging,
false and misleading advertisements, deceptive warranties, hoarding, profiteering,
black marketing, short weights and measures, etc (George et al, 1970).
Consumerism is the public demand both for refinement in marketing practices to
make them more informative, more responsive, more sincere, more truthful and
more efficient, and for a new concern with factors other than privately consumed
goods and services that determine the quality of life Sherlaker, (1999). According
to Kaynak (1985) and Quazi (2002) the consumerism is concerned with both the
micro and macro consumerist issues. The micro consumerist issues include the
issues like misbranding practice, misleading advertisement, deceptive packaging,
unfair pricing etc. While on the other hand, the macro consumerist issues are
mainly concerned with the broader contexts like environmental pollution, health

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care system, antinuclear issues etc. The micro issues of consumerism are also
known as the fairness in trade practices or fairness in business practices.
The term consumerism appears to be uniquely associated with the past
decade. Even in this short period it has undergone a number of changes in
meaning. Vance Packard, one of the earliest adopters of the term, linked
consumerism with strategies for persuading consumers to quickly expand their
needs and wants by making them "voracious, compulsive and wasteful.( Hopkins,
1964).
The most common understanding of consumerism is with reference to the
widening range of activities of government, business, and independent
organizations that are designed to protect individuals from practices (of both
business and government) that infringe upon their rights as consumers. This view
of consumerism emphasizes the direct relationship between the individual
consumer and the business firm (Aaker,1970).
Consumerism

dominates the Indian Market in the current millennium

thanks to the economic reforms ushered in and the several agreements signed
under the W.T.O. The translation is from a predominantly sellers market to a
buyers market where the choice exercised by the consumer is influenced by the
level of consumer awareness achieved (Sreenivasan, 1999). In the present time
there is a general outlook that the entire process of production and marketing is
driven by the wants and desires of the consumer. The increased flow of money in
the economy has imparted a new dimension to the purchasing power of the people.
This indicates that the consumer is in the drivers seat and determines what is
produced, how much is produced and how it is produced. However the
manufactures generate artificial wants for the goods and services consequently
create an atmosphere conducive for sale. Over the years as the market developed
consumer has found himself steering the process of manufacturing. For instance
one intending to buy a shirt is confronted with an incredible range of brands,
priced differently so that it can cater to the high profile tastes as well as suit the
pockets of the potential customers (Competition Master ,2000). This indicates a
very strong shift towards pleasing the consumer and providing him value for his

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money. There is not only the invasion of different products, but also the entry of
multiple buyers in a single product industry. All these are aimed at obtaining the
individual attention of the consumers and his loyalty. A plethora of advertisements
every day constantly bombards the consumer with a million enticing messages
(Mehta Pradeep ,1999). From an angled tooth brushes to credit cards or electric roti
makers to motor bike, the list of desirables is endless. The liberalization measures
and the process of globalization made the entry of new enterprises easy.
In the past there were no appropriate channels for the consumers to acquire
the foreign goods with ease. Thus there existed a huge starved market that made it
easy for the multinationals to win them over with little effort. Within a short span
of 6 or 7 years they have emerged as the dominant players in the market place. The
marketing policy of business now is based on two strategic aims. One, to satisfy
the existing needs by supplying competing but differentiated products. The other is
to create the need for new goods and services. Often the need is created for those
goods and services for which it was never felt. This deeply influences the
consumption patterns and takes its toll on both ecological sustainability and
economic capacity of consumers.
In the increasingly competitive market place, both foreign and domestic
business has scaled new heights in advertising and publicity. In order to achieve
their strategic aims businesses often resorted to country specific marketing and
promotional strategies. These include gimmicks like buy now pay later, buy two
get one free and low interest finance schemes. This marketing juggernaut is
drawing Indians into a mad rush for consumer goods and services. Given the
existence of a large number of middle class consumers, the multinational
companies try to change their mind

so that they could be turned to the latest

products. As the middle class is tradition bound in their choice of things, the
multinationals and their advertising agencies have evolved a special approach. This
new trick to lure the consumers is the offering of freebies and hefty discounts. As
the market becomes increasingly competitive and the differences between brands
become hazy, free gifts and exchange offers are seen as a convenient way of
pulling in consumers. The freebies offered when one buys a product from an

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established manufactures also builds brand equity for the free riding product, thus
acting as a first step to get the consumer hooked to goods that were not intended to
be purchased. This in turn acts as a first step in the spiral of consumerism..
In the era of consumerism consumers find it difficult to escape from the
pressure exerted by innumerable goods and services. Modern goods are so
attractive that consumers find it hard to resist. Only hindrance that constrains the
consumers from choosing things is income. During the past decades, this has been
the experience in several developing countries. Even at the cost of essential food
requirements, consumer goods are bought by the consumer in the less fortunate
parts of the world. Wells (1977) found that in Brazil decline over time in
nutritional status among the urban poor has been associated with the substitution of
durable goods consumption for food expenditure. The African middle income
earners in 1961 spent 0.39% of their income on bottled cola drinks which in 1971
rose to 0.6% (Medawar, 1979). The spending pattern in poor countries is subject
to the influence of the consumption behaviour of the richer societies (James, 1982).
Children are responsible for a bulk of household purchasing decisions.
Many advertisers and their clients are targeting this segment. The strategy is to get
the children hooked to a product so that the companies can count on a steadily
increasing brand loyal class of consumers. Advertisers know that the concern for
the well being of their child is one of the prime concerns of most parents(This has
been used to promote products ranging from tyres to water purification system).
There are many case studies which indicate how advertising has changed the
consumption of some traditional items used by Indians. For over 50% of the
Indias population, rice is the staple diet. Rice is usually first boiled in aluminium
or stainless steel vessels or in pressure cookers and is rarely fried. In the 1990s a
Japanese electric rice cooker model, National was introduced in the country backed
by aggressive advertising promoting an easy lifestyle. Now large number of urban
households are switching over to the Japanese way of cooking rice in electric
cookers (Ibid.) .

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3.6 Household Consumption Pattern in India


This section deals with the changes in consumption, both in the level and
type of commodities of consumption that happened in India and Kerala during the
recent years. It examines whether there is any change in the pattern of consumption
expenditure over a period of time. Attempt is made to highlight how the Kerala
consumption pattern differs from that of the rest of India. Large differences in the
pattern of food and non-food consumption over the regions of the country are well
known (Joshy, 1998)
An analysis of the consumption expenditure in the rural and urban areas at
the all India level gives us an idea about the improvement in the standard of living
of the people during the last 30 years. NSSO is the only source which provides a
more or less time series information on the levels and pattern of consumption and
the distribution of population by per capita consumption levels (Sreenivasan
etal,1974). Data from various rounds of National Sampling Survey Organisation
(NSSO) throws more light on the new trends in consumption pattern in the
country. These estimates of consumption are obtained by scientifically designed
surveys made available in two forms: thin survey data and quinquennial survey
data based on large sample size. The present study is confined to

use both the

quinquennial survey data and thin survey data on consumer expenditure of NSSO.
So far NSSO has completed

eight

quinquennial surveys (1972-73 to 2009

10).This study utilizes the survey results of NSSO on consumption expenditure as


available from its 27th round (October 1972 - September 1973) 32nd round (July
1977 - June 1978) 38`th round (January -December 1983), 43`rd round(July1987June 1988) 50`th round (July 1993-June 1994) ,55th round (July 1999-June 2000),
61st round (July 2004 to June 2005), 63rd round (July 2006 to June 2007), 66th
round (July 2009 to June 2010) .
Following table shows that Monthly Per capita Consumer Expenditure
(MPCE) has increased over the years. During 1987-88 to 2009-10 MPCE has
shown an increasing trend.

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Table 3.1
Trends in All India average per capita Consumption- 1987-88 to 2009- 10
Rural

Urban

Rounds

Years

MPCE Rs. At
Current Prices

MPCE Rs. At
Current Prices

43

1987-88

158

249.9

55

1999-00

486

855

56

2000-01

495

914

57

2001-02

498

933

58

2002

531

1012

59

2003

554

1022

60

2004

565

1060

61

2004-05

559

1052

62

2005-06

625

1171

63

2006-07

695

1312

66

2009-10

927

1785

Source: NSSO Various Rounds


In the rural area, MPCE was noted as Rs.158 in 1987-88 survey and Rs.695
in 2006-07 survey. In urban also, MPCE was noted at Rs.249.9 in 1987-88 survey
and Rs.1312 in 2006-07 survey. It is seen that expenditure has increased more in
urban areas compared to rural areas. Average urban MPCE exceeded average rural
MPCE by 89% at the All India level in 2006-07.

During 2000-01 average urban

MPCE (Rs.914) exceeded average rural MPCE by about 85 % at the All India
level. In 63r d Round ie. 2006-07, it increased by 89%. Similarly in 2009-10 also
the average urban MPCE (1785) exceeded rural MPCE (927) by 92.5%. This
shows a wide rural-urban disparity in the monthly per capita expenditure. A rural
urban difference in the MPCE at current prices has significantly increased since
1987-88. Two issues may be relevant in regard to the rural urban disparity. First is
related to the migration of rural poor workers to the urban area. Many of them live
in the urban slums. This process of migration actually exports the poverty from
rural areas to urban areas and thus reduces the average per capita income of urban
areas and consequently becomes instrumental in underestimation of rural urban

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economic disparity. Second issue is related to the growth of urbanization of rural


areas. Urban economic activities are moving out of big cities to the surrounding
rural areas, as land becomes more expensive in the urban areas and environmental
regulations become more stringent. High prices of agricultural land and better rural
urban linkages due to improved transport and communication infrastructure have
made the rural people living in the vicinity of cities economically better off than
the average rural people. Therefore, if the households of rural migrant workers in
the urban areas and population of urbanized villages are excluded from the
estimation of per capita income and MPCE, the rural urban disparity would be
much greater.
3.7 Declining food expenditure.
From the table 3.2 it is seen that in 2005-06 the share of food in total
expenditure in rural areas declined to 53.3% and 40% in urban areas. A similar
trend is visible in 2006-07 in both rural and urban areas. In rural area, share of food
in total expenditure is 52.3% and in urban area it is 39.4%. In 2009-2010 the
percentage share of food in consumption expenditure increased marginally in both
rural and urban area ie 53.6% in rural and 40.7% in urban India. The share of food
is seen to have declined by about 10 percentage points to 53.6% in the rural sector
and by about 16 percentage points to 40.7% in the urban sector over a 22-year
period .Since the last quinquennial survey (held 5 years previously), the share of
food has fallen by about 1 percentage points in rural India and nearly 2
percentage points in urban India. Over the years in both rural and urban areas the
monthly expenditure on non food items has increased.
Following table shows the declining share of food to total expenditure
during 1987 to 2010.

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Table 3.2
Declining food expenditure
Rural

Urban

Rounds

Years

Food

Non-food

Food

Non-food

43

1987-88

64

36.9

56

44

55

1999-00

60.2

39.8

49

41

56

2000-01

56

44

44

56

57

2001-02

55.5

44.5

43

57

58

2002

55

45

42.5

57.5

59

2003

54

46

42

58

60

2003-04

54

46

42

58

61

2004-05

55

45

42

58

62

2005-06

53.3

46.7

40

60

63

2006-07

52.3

47.7

39.4

60.6

66

2009-10

53.6

46.4

40.7

59.3

Source: NSSO Various Rounds.


3.8 Shift in Budget share in Rural and Urban India
Consumption pattern of households can be analysed with the help of the
shift in their budget share among different food and non food items of
consumption. The consumer expenditure on some broad groups of items and
percentage to total expenditure in the Rural and Urban areas of India for 8
quinquennial rounds of NSS are given in the tables (3.3 and 3.4).
3.8.1 Rural India
It is evident from the table( 3.3) that in rural India, the share of food in total
expenditure continued to fall throughout the 4 decades. The overall fall was from
72.9% in 1972-73 to 53.6 % in 2009-10. However the consumption of milk and
milk products increased from 7.3% in 1972-73 to 8.6% in 2009-10. Similarly the
consumption of edible oil, fish, egg, meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts showed an
increasing trend over these periods but consumption of sugar, salt and spices have

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decreased marginally in 2009-10. The share of beverages also increased from 2.4%
in 72-73 to 5.6% in 2009-10.
The share of non food in total expenditure increased from 27.1% in 197273 to 46.4 in 2009-10. The share of fuel and light in household consumer
expenditure has risen from 5.6% in 1972-73 to 9.5% in 2009-10. Similarly
footwear, and durable goods show an increasing trend over the last 4 decades. The
share of clothing in total consumer expenditure over the last 4 decades fell from
7.0% in 1972-73 to 4.9% in 2009-10. The share of miscellaneous goods and
services (education, medical care, rents and taxes, sundry consumables and other
consumer services including conveyance) grew from 8.7% in 1972-73 to 24% in
2009-10 in rural India.
Table 3.3
Percentage distribution of MPCE over broad groups of consumption items by
NSS rounds - India (Rural )
Round
Item
group

Expenditure as % of total consumer expenditure


27th

32nd

38th

43rd

50th

55th

61st

round

round

round

round

round

round

round

round

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

(7)

(8)

cereals

40.6

32.8

32.3

26.3

24.2

22.2

18.0

15.6

gram

0.6

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.2

cereals
substitutes

0.5

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

pluses &
products

4.3

3.8

3.5

4.0

3.8

3.8

3.1

3.7

milk and
products

7.3

7.7

7.5

8.6

8.8

8.8

8.5

8.6

edible oil

3.5

3.6

4.0

5.0

3.7

3.7

4.6

3.7

egg, fish
&meat

2.5

2.7

3.0

3.3

3.3

3.3

3.3

3.5

vegetables

3.6

3.8

4.7

5.2

6.2

6.2

6.1

6.2

(1)

66th

84

fruits & nuts

1.1

1.1

1.4

1.6

1.7

1.7

1.9

1.9

sugar

3.8

2.6

2.8

2.9

3.1

2.4

2.4

2.4

salt & species

2.8

3.0

2.5

2.9

2.7

3.0

2.5

2.4

beverages, etc.

2.4

2.5

3.3

3.9

4.2

4.2

4.5

5.6

food total

72.9

64.3

65.6

64.0

63.2

59.4

55.0

53.6

pan, tobacco &


intoxicants

3.1

2.9

3.0

3.2

3.2

2.9

2.7

2.2

fuel & light

5.6

6.0

7.0

7.5

7.4

7.5

10.2

9.5

clothing

7.0

8.7

8.6

6.7

5.4

6.9

4.5

4.9

footwear

0.5

0.7

1.0

1.0

0.9

1.1

0.8

1.0

misc. goods &


services

8.7

10.3

12.5

14.5

17.3

19.6

23.4

24.0

durable goods

2.2

7.0

2.3

3.1

2.7

2.6

3.2

4.8

non food
total

271

35.7

34.4

36.0

36.8

40.6

45.0

46.4

Total
expenditure

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

NSSO Various Rounds


27th round October 1972 to September

50th round July 1993 to June 1994

1973

55th round- July 1999 to June 2000

32nd round July 1977 to June 1978

61st round July 2004 to June 2005

38th round January 1983 to Dec. 1983

66 th round -July 2009 to June 2010.

43rd round July 1987 to June 1988

3.8.2 Urban India


In Urban India also the proportion of expenditure of food to total
expenditure declined whereas expenditure on non food increased (Table 3.4).
Expenditure on cereals and cereal substitutes also declined throughout the chosen

85

period Similarly consumption of pulses, milk, edible oil, sugar, meat, egg, fish,
beverages etc showed a declining trend from1972-73 onwards. Regarding the
consumption of fruits and nuts, there is a marginal increase in the consumption
expenditure. Expenditure on vegetables increased from 4.4% in 1972-73 to 5% in
2000 even though slight decline is noticed in 2009-10 ie 4.3%.Regarding the non
food items pan, tobacco and intoxicants exhibited a distinct downward trend, while
fuel and light appeared to show an upward trend in the last decade. Clothing and
bedding show an overall fall, and the share of durable goods appears to be picking
up. The greatest gainer in share of expenditure is clearly the miscellaneous goods
and services category ( education and medical care). The share of this group has
soared by around 70% of its level in 1987-88.
Table 3.4
Percentage distribution of MPCE over broad groups of consumption items by
NSS rounds - India (Urban)
Round
Item
group

Expenditure as % of total consumer expenditure


27th

32nd

55th

61st

round

round

round

round

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

(7)

(8)

cereals

23.3

20.5

19.4

15.0

14.0

12.4

10.1

9.1

gram

0.3

0.3

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.1

cereals
substitutes

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

pluses &
products

3.4

3.6

3.2

3.4

3.0

2.8

2.1

2.7

milk and
products

9.3

9.5

9.2

9.5

9.8

8.7

7.9

7.8

edible oil

4.9

4.6

4.8

5.3

4.4

3.1

3.5

2.6

egg, fish &meat

3.3

3.5

3.6

3.6

3.4

3.1

2.7

2.7

vegetables

4.4

4.4

5.0

5.3

5.5

5.1

4.5

4.3

(1)

38th

43rd

50th

round round round

66 th
Round

86

fruits & nuts

2.0

2.0

2.1

2.5

2.7

2.4

2.2

2.1

sugar

3.6

2.6

2.5

2.4

2.4

1.6

1.5

1.5

salt & species

2.3

2.7

2.1

2.3

2.0

2.2

1.7

1.5

beverages, etc.

7.6

6.3

6.8

6.8

7.2

6.4

6.2

6.3

food total

64.5

60.3

59.1

56.4

54.7

48.1

42.5

40.7

pan, tobacco &


intoxicants

2.8

2.4

2.4

2.6

2.3

1.9

1.6

1.2

fuel & light

5.6

6.4

6.9

6.8

6.6

7.8

9.9

8.0

clothing

5.3

7.1

7.6

5.9

4.7

6.1

4.0

4.7

footwear

0.4

0.6

1.1

1.1

0.9

0.7

0.9

misc. goods &


services

19.21

14.6

23.2

23.2

27.5

37.2

37.8

durable goods

2.2

8.9

4.1

4.1

3.3

4.1

6.7

non food total

35.5

40.0

43.6

43.6

45.3

51.9

57.5

59.3

Total
expenditure

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

1.2
31.3
3.6

Source: NSSO Various Rounds

50th round July 1993 to June 1994

27th round October 1972 to


September 1973

55th round- July 1999 to June 2000

32nd round July 1977 to June 1978


38th round January 1983 to Dec.
1983
43rd round July 1987 to June 1988

61st round July 2004 to June 2005


66 th round -July 2009 to June 2010

87

3.9. Consumption Scenario in Kerala


Kerala state- a narrow strip of land, about 600km long and between 110
and 120 km wide is situated in the south west coast of India is a paradox to many
economists. When we try to visualise Kerala from outside the state, this is what
invariably comes to mind: a rich green landscape, breathtaking beauty, snaking
backwaters, high literacy, highest longevity, lowest infant mortality, best
healthcare, best sex ratio, gender equality, robust media, and vibrant rural and
urban markets. But it presents a paradoxical picture of high social development
with uneven economic growth (Joseph Tharamangalam, 1998).Lack of
technological improvement in primary and secondary sector can be cited as one of
the reasons for the low level growth experienced in the state. The annual Average
Per capita Consumer Expenditure (APCE) in Kerala was below the national
average till 1976-77; since then it steadily increased and by 1999-00 stood at 41
percent above the national average (Kannan and Hari, 2000).
Keralas development experience exhibited that poverty alleviation can be
achieved along with a reduction in spatial and gender gaps and freedom of political
choice. The average levels of literacy, life expectancy, infant mortality etc in India
are enormously adverse compared with China, and yet in all the respects Kerala
does significantly better than China (Amartya Sen,1997). At the same time there
are arguments against the very concept of Kerala model of development.
Tharamangalam (1998) asserts that it was the culture of dependency created by an
encompassing welfare state that snuffed out the entrepreneurial spirit of Keralites
and the future economic growth of the region. George (1993) even questioned the
sustainability of already achieved social development of Kerala. The paradoxical
phenomenon of rapid social development unaccompanied by corresponding gains
in economic growth has been exhausting in itself (George ,1994).
Conventional economic theory argues that high living index is the outcome
of high economic growth. Conceptually economic growth refers to high levels of
income, output and employment. High level of economic growth leads to the
attainment of high standard of living for the population in the economy and other
basic facilities in society which refer to economic development. Against this

88

background of conventional growth theories, the state of Kerala stands out


occupying a unique position in the economic, social and political arena.
The growth indices like state Domestic product, agricultural and industrial
production, employment etc have been showing an uneven trend over the decades.
The economic growth rate remained stable and oscillating in 1970s and 1980s. But
the latest publication of the R B I, Hand Book of Statistics on Indian Economy
shows that Kerala ranks 5th among the major states with regard to growth rate of
state income. The growth rate of 59.8% achieved by Kerala during the period
1989-90 to 1997-98 is higher than that of Tamil Nadu (58.64%) and Karnataka
(51.64%). Kerala is also unique in implementing land reforms and decentralized
planning in a very effective way.
3.10 Growth Behaviour of Net Domestic Product by Economic Activity
It is seen that the average annual growth rate of agricultural sector in Kerala
has been declining while that of the industrial sector experienced stagnation since
1991-92. The service sector has recorded the highest average annual growth rate
during the same period. It stands to reason that the revival in economic growth in
the nineties as reflected in the growth rate of Net State Domestic product (NSDP)
is largely accounted by the service sector. Thus the Kerala Economy lagged behind
the country in overall growth rate, though it has the highest rank in terms of
resource development or welfare indicators. Thus the Kerala economic base is
lopsided in structure with a relatively low share for the manufacturing sector in the
State Domestic Product (SDP) and a disproportionately high share for the tertiary
sector.(Baiju,2002). According to K. K. Subramanian (2000) Kerala's industrial
performance measured by any parameter such as annual growth of its
manufacturing sector, share of manufacture in the state domestic product, value
added in the factory sector or any similar measure has been on a low side.
The economy is already committed to a high level of social consumption at
the expense of investment in growth propelling productive sector. The private
sector, which contributed substantially for the development of education and health
sector, remained shy of investing in the organized industrial sector. Despite the
sizeable inflow of remittances from the migrants, this was not properly mobilized

89

for investment in productive sectors. Hence Kerala failed to grow economically


while it developed socially (Govindan Parayil, 2000).
Inspite of all these Keralites maintain a relatively high level of
consumption. Consumer expenditure data for various states testify the enhanced
level of household expenditure in Kerala vis--vis that of many other states and the
country in general (Sooryamoorthy, 1996).Interestingly in the household
expenditure of Kerala, a higher proportion of expenditure is incurred on non food
commodities like consumer durables, footwear, clothing, beverages etc. This sort
of consumption, attaching prominence to non-food commodities and luxuries
resembles

the

consumption

pattern

prevalent

in

advanced

economies

(Sooryamoorty, 1997). It is observed that consumption level in Kerala moved


steadily upward from a point lower than the national average in the early 1970s to
a point higher than the national average in 1983-4 ( NSSO 38th Round, 1986). This
was the period during which the states economic performance began to show a
real decline while the remittance from abroad registered a sharp increase (Kannan
and Hari,2002). The liberalization of the Indian economic policies, particularly the
foreign exchange rate, benefited Kerala directly. Adding the remittance income to
the NSDP, a Modified State Income series has been constructed. Since the mid
1970s the major factors that had its impact on Kerala economy mainly on labour
market, consumption, saving, investment, poverty, income distribution and
economic growth were the gulf migration and migrant remittances (B. A. Prakash,
2000). The proportion of remittances to the income produced in the state in 198687 was as high as 28% where as it was 26% in 1997(Krishnan, 1991). In several
districts of Kerala, gulf remittances are the basic factor determining all economic
activities (B. A .Prakash, 1999).
3.11. Consumption in Transition
The preferences of Keralites is changing. Changes in the pattern and trends
are striking and obvious. Allocation of income and the share of each item in the
aggregate consumer expenditure are the pointers to the changing pattern of
consumption. The changes have become so prominent in the last two decades. The
Keralites are not afraid of experimenting and trying new things. They want to be

90

in the thick of the action- be it fashion, food habits, buying motor vehicles, having
fun , wearing ornaments and making relations (Saragadharan ,2007). The average
income of household is on the increasing side. The spending power has increased
tremendously over the past couple of decades. Impact of industrialization,
urbanization and modernization on the consumption demeanour was however not
minimal but vital during this span. Exposure to the outer world, influence of
western culture and style of living shaped the aspirations of the consumers and
shifted their preferences in a different direction. Rapid advancement in the arena of
telecommunication and internet reduced the world into a village. Happenings in
one corner of the universe diffused into other parts without much lapse of time.
General changes in the situation began to show in the whole country. Kerala too
had changes. Shifting preferences of consumption item from one to another
became so conspicuous in Kerala. Expenditure on both food and non food items,
since the 70s reveals this changes in preferences (Sooryamoorthy, 1997).
Disposable income of Keralites has been improving thus permitting them to enjoy
an entirely new standard of living.
A cursory glance at the consumer expenditure statistics for Kerala during
the last few years gathered by the NSSO reveals the changing trends in
consumption pattern. Eight quinquennial rounds namely, 27, 32, 38, 43,50,55,61
66 corresponding to the years of 1972 ,73,1977-78,1983, 1987-88,1993-94, 19992000,2004-05 and 2009-10 will bring out the pattern and its changing trends in
the state over the last 4 decades.
In the beginning of the 70s the aggregate consumer expenditure per person
in the rural areas of Kerala remained lower than that of the All India level.
However, by the close of the decade it went up overtaking the national level. In
1987-88, while an average Indian in the rural region consumed things worth Rs.
158.10, a rural Keralite expended Rs 211.47. Notably the expenditure share of
non-food items witnessed an enviable increase from 29.5% in 1972 to 40% in
1987-88 (Eapen, 1994 ). In 2006-2007, while the rural Indian consumed things
worth Rs. 695, the rural Keralites spent Rs. 1250. Compared to other states in the
rural sector, Kerala has the highest MPCE. In 2004-05 the average rural and urban
MPCE of India was Rs.559 and Rs 1052 respectively. During the same year the
rural and urban MPCE of Kerala was Rs 1013 and Rs 1291. It is clear that Average

91

Urban MPCE exceeded average rural MPCE by 84% at the All India level. The
same trend is visible in 2006-07. In 2009-10 also Kerala occupies the highest
MPCE ie. Rs.1835 in rural area and RS 2413 in the urban area (NSSO 66th round).
Rural urban disparity measured by percentage difference of urban MPCE over
rural MPCE was lowest in Kerala at 33%.
3.11.1 Changes in per capita consumption
Normally consumption pattern vary from urban to rural region. In Kerala
we can observe a converging consumption pattern in rural and urban areas
compared to the all India figures (K.P. Sunny1988). Economic and non economic
factors have contributed to this difference in consumption pattern in Kerala .Non
economic factors such as the fast spreading of urban consumption habits among
the rural people due to high mobility and literacy rate and more even distribution
of income due to land reforms have contributed to the changes in the consumption
pattern of people.
3.12. Shift in the Share of Budget to Food and Non-Food Items
The proportion of food expenditure to total expenditure shows a declining
trend in rural and urban regions. A sharp increase is recorded in respect of the
proportion of total expenditure on non food items over the chosen period of
analysis; for instance the proportion of expenditure on food items to total
expenditure has fallen from 70.50% (1972-73) to 45.93% in (2009-10) in rural
Kerala (NSSO). The beginning of the 1980s also witnessed a growth in
urbanization in Kerala. Together with the exposure to modern ways and the
availability of modern consumables, non food consumption over the existing level
of food consumption became prominent in the consumption basket of Keralites.
3.12.1 Consumption pattern in rural Kerala
Consumption pattern in rural Kerala between 1972-73 and 2009-10 revealed
from 8 quinquennial rounds showed that considerable shifts have taken place in
rural consumption pattern (Table 3.5). The amount spent on a number of items has
been steadily increasing to a considerable level over the years . Gram, meat, egg,
fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts, fuel& light, footwear, miscellaneous goods and
services and durable goods are mostly the items that have registered an increase in

92

the level of consumption over the various rounds. Changes are visible from 197273 onwards. During the four decades ie. between 1972-73 to 2009 -10 a shift in
the emphasis of consumption took place in the case of certain items. Durable
goods consumption, for instance, recorded more than fivefold increase over a
period of 40 years. Among the food items, both the total expenditure and the
corresponding percentage to total expenditure on cereals and cereal substitutes
have gone down considerably throughout the period. This declining tendency was
more pronounced during the period of 1987-88. The negative growth of cereal
consumption over the period has been due to a shift in food consumption from
cereals to non cereal food items. In Kerala the most important cereal substitute is
tapioca. Tapioca is mainly consumed by the lower income groups and therefore it
is considered as an inferior commodity (P. S. George 1986). The decline in the
consumption of this item and the increase in the consumption of non cereal items
in the food basket suggest that the real income of the people may have increased
over this period. Commodities like meat, egg and fish have turned into savoury
items for Keralites. Kerala is leading other states in meat consumption where 95%
of the population is meat eaters. In rural Kerala in 1972-73 meat, egg and fish
consumption was only 4.57% but increased to 8.72% in 2010. Though milk and
milk products have increased considerably over 3 decades, later these showed a
declining tendency. Consumption of sugar, salt and spices has shown only slight
variation during the reporting rounds. The main reason for the consistent and
steady proportion of expenditure on these items is that the propensity of the
consumers to consume commodities of the essential kind is not oscillating much.

93

Table 3.5
Percentage distribution of MPCE over broad groups of consumption items by

Sl.no

NSS rounds - Kerala (Rural)

Round
Items

Oct
72Sep
t 73

July
77
June
78

Jan
Dec
1983

July
87
June
88

July
93
June
94

July 99
June
2000

200405

2009
-10

27th

32 th

38 th

43 th

50 th

55 th

61st

66 th

1.

Cereals

32.01

23.71

23.17

17.89

17.53

14.5

11.01

7.96

2.

Gram

0.10

0.19

0.17

0.22

0.27

0.24

0.26

0.26

3.

Cereal Subs

5.46

2.83

1.63

1.54

1.07

0.66

0.47

0.34

4.

Pulses

1.28

1.51

1.61

1.76

1.84

1.77

1.50

1.67

5.

Milk&
product

3.61

4.14

4.11

4.66

5.22

4.71

4.07

3.58

6.

Edible oil

1.95

2.13

2.71

3.20

2.89

2.75

2.63

1.64

7.

Meat egg &


fish

4.56

5.39

6.18

7.43

8.46

8.05

6.70

8.72

8.

Vegetables

2.23

2.33

2.84

3.54

4.17

3.86

3.34

4.53

9.

Fruits & Nuts

4.25

5.20

5.59

6.17

6.12

5.03

4.80

4.08

10.

Sugar

2.49

2.03

2.03

2.17

2.55

1.58

1.59

1.43

11.

Salt & Spices

3.08

3.53

3.56

3.41

2.74

2.70

2.15

2.79

12.

Beverage

9.49

8.21

8.07

7.92

7.59

7.86

6.47

8.94

Food Total

70.50

61.20

61.67

59.64

60.46

53.71

44.97

45.93

13.

Pan, tobacco
& intoxicants

3.75

3.44

3.10

3.24

3.33

2.5

2.23

2.84

14.

Fuel & lights

5.89

5.93

5.82

6.45

5.74

5.99

7.04

5.34

15.

Clothing

4.22

7.55

6.68

5.14

4.36

5.57

4.45

4.64

16.

Foot wear

0.12

0.35

0.65

0.73

0.91

0.79

0.75

0.75

17.

Misc. goods 13.29


and services

15.16

16.42

18.48

20.08

24.59

31.83

31.29

18.

Durable goods

2.23

6.80

5.95

6.31

5.19

6.85

8.73

9.19

Total
Nonfood

29.50

39.04

38.33

40.36

39.54

46.29

55.03

54.07

Source : NSSO Various Rounds

94

3.12.2. Urban Kerala


The consumption pattern of urban Kerala is similar to rural, though not
exactly as in rural areas. Kerala recorded the highest per capita expenditure of Rs.
369 in urban areas in contrast to the national expenditure of Rs. 327. Between
1972-73 and 2009-10, the proportion of total expenditure of food items in the
urban areas of Kerala declined by nearly 40 %. In 1972-73 the proportion of food
consumption expenditure on total expenditure was 67.55% where as in 2009-10 it
was 40.2%. This shows that in urban area also there is considerable shift in the
consumption preferences among the people. Regarding the food expenditure,
cereals and cereal substitutes declined over the various rounds. Meat, egg, fish,
vegetables, fruits and nuts show an increasing trend. Regarding the non-food items,
even though the proportion of expenditure on items such as clothing,
miscellaneous and durable goods to total expenditure improved, the increase was
more in the case of miscellaneous and durable goods in both urban and rural areas.
At the same time the proportion of expenditure on fuel and light was found
fluctuating in both rural and urban Kerala. Meanwhile consumption of footwear
did not show much variation from the 1972-73 level but expenses incurred on pan,
tobacco and intoxicants showed a slight decline in 2009-10 . Perhaps this is due to
the habitual consumption of urban dwellers who like the rural consumers are less
inclined to consume them.

95

Table 3. 6
Percentage distribution of MPCE over broad groups of consumption items by
NSS rounds - Kerala (Urban)
Rounds

27th

32

th

38

th

43

th

50

th

55

th

61

st

66

th

Items
1.

Cereals

24.84

20.19

19.48

13.46

12.99

11.34

8.40

6.26

2.

Gram

.12

.27

.19

0.25

.31

0.27

.24

0.27

3.

Cereal Subs

2.21

1.25

.44

0.32

.38

0.25

0.19

0.13

4.

Pulses

1.81

1.81

1.71

1.90

1.63

1.82

1.3

1.52

5.

Milk&
product

5.37

5.26

5.12

6.11

5.60

5.28

4.42

3.44

6.

Edible oil

2.19

2.47

2.86

3.20

2.58

2.46

2.37

1.47

7.

Meat egg &


fish

5.19

5.77

6.59

7.98

8.11

7.55

6.02

7.17

8.

Vegetables

2.25

2.39

2.83

3.37

3.43

3.56

2.97

3.73

9.

Fruits &
Nuts

4.31

5.56

5.53

6.59

5.49

4.51

4.9

4.1

10. Sugar

2.88

2.19

1.92

1.92

2.19

1.34

1.25

1.15

11. Salt &


Spices

2.46

3.17

2.21

2.53

2.13

2.27

1.67

2.05

12. Beverage

12.66

11.30

10.46

9.46

9.05

8.39

6.86

8.91

Food Total
13. Pan, tobacco
&
intoxicants

66.28

66.61

59.38

57.11

53.89

49.04

39.97

40.2

3.37

2.88

2.4

2.06

2.41

2.00

1.63

2.03

14. Fuel &


lights

5.52

6.29

5.80

6.02

5.54

5.82

7.36

5.20

15. Clothing

4.96

6.95

8.14

4.83

7.33

5.77

5.65

4.63

16. Foot wear

.26

.48

.96

1.01

0.97

0.92

0.71

.79

17. Misc. goods


and services

16.77

14.72

19.66

21.36

24.85

29.72

35.85

35.54

18. Durable
goods

2.84

7.07

3.66

7.61

5.00

6.73

8.83

10.95

33.72

38.39

40.62

42.89

46.11

50.96

60.03

59.80

Total
Nonfood

Source : NSSO Various Rounds

96

3.13 A Comparative Analysis


If we compare the changes in the expenditure shares on different consumer
items for both all India and Kerala, we may be able to observe certain interesting
features. First of all, the share of expenditure on the food items over time can be
viewed on a disaggregated level in both rural and urban areas. Different
components in the food basket show almost similar trends in both Kerala and all
India. In the case of total cereal consumption it is evident from Tables ( 3.5 and
3.6) that both at the all India level and in Kerala the proportion of expenditure on
cereals has declined considerably over the years. Gram and cereal substitutes also
have followed the same pattern. But regarding consumption of pulses there is a
marginal increase in the proportion in rural Kerala, whereas the all India figures
both in rural and urban areas show no increase at all. The proportion of income
expended on milk and milk products show an increasing trend in rural areas of
both Kerala and all India whereas a slight decline in expenditure proportion is
observed in the urban areas. Per capita expenditure shares show an increasing
trend in both rural Kerala and all India for the following items: meat, egg, fish,
vegetables , fruits and nuts. Since these items are relatively costly and having more
nutrient content, the proportion of expenditure spent on these items can be
considered as an indicator of the rise in the level of the standard of living of the
people of India in general and Kerala in particular.
Urban Kerala spent more on meat, egg and fish but a slight decline is
noticed in urban India regarding the expenditure on these items. The proportion of
income spend on sugar, salt and spices show nearly a declining trend over this
period. Expenditure on beverages declined in both rural and urban Kerala over the
years. The same is visible is in urban India but a slight increase is visible in rural
India. Expenditure on non food items also changed significantly over the chosen
period. The share of consumption of non-food items in rural and urban areas of
Kerala during 1972-73 were 29.50% and 33.72% respectively, but that increased to
the extent of 54.07% and 60% by 2009-10 ( Tables 3.5 and 3.6). All India
estimates on non food consumption show that during the year 1972-73 the

97

respective shares in rural and urban areas were 27.1% and 35.5%, whereas it went
up to 46.4% and 59.3% respectively in 2009-10 (Tables 3.3 and 3.4).
The amount expended on pan, tobacco and intoxicant showed a declining
trend in rural and urban Kerala and All India. Per capita expenditure shares of
miscellaneous goods and services and durable goods shows an increasing trend in
both rural and urban India and Kerala. The income expended on clothing increases
in both rural and urban Kerala, but it showed a declining trend in rural and urban
India. In Kerala consumer behaviour in rural and urban areas shows almost a
similar pattern over the years, while that of all India estimates show a diverging
picture.
3.14. Changing Food Habits
During the last few decades drastic changes have taken place in habits,
items and quantity of food consumption (Gopalakrishnan ,2005) .
3.14.1 Breakfast
The most common traditional items of the breakfast were Kanji and ney
(rice gruel and ghee), Kappa and Meen (tapioca and fish) upto sixties of last
century. These items have been replaced by a series of breakfast items such as
appam, idli, dosa, noolappam, puttu etc. with variety of curries like sambar,
chutney, etc. during seventies and eighties.

This scenario has been slowly

changing in the last two decades to north Indian food items made of wheat like
chappathi, parotta, poori, nan etc. which are baked/fried in edible oil. The taste,
components, cooking methods and nutritional values of the addendums/ curries
also changed a lot from those of traditional Kerala cuisine. These changes were
from the mild taste to highly spicy, oily, hot, least fibrous, coloured, north Indian
type of curries, in which potato, onion, garam masaala , and red chilly take the
lions share activating the taste buds.
3.14.2 Lunch and dinner
The traditional Kerala lunch and dinner have changed remarkably from
non-oily non-spicy items to oily, highly flavoured spicy items. The home grown
farm fresh vegetables got replaced with commercially cultivated pesticide pumped

98

vegetables. The wheat based north Indian items with high fat, spice and oil content
have significantly affected our health. We had a tradition of light food such as
Kanji and gram for dinner. But it has been replaced with heavy dinner containing
dishes made of meat, chicken etc. This is against the traditional concept of Kerala.
Atthaazham nellikkayolam -the supper should be as frugal as possible only as
much as to a gooseberry. The present day Kerala dinner is not keeping with the
wisdom contained in the saying.
Non polished rice has disappeared from the Kerala kitchen which was rich
in micronutrients. Keralites are now opting for only the same variety of highly
polished rice, instead of the traditional varieties used in earlier days. The most
common fruits of Kerala like local mangoes, jackfruits, anona, papaya, guava,
sapota, gooseberry, a variety of plantains etc are slowly disappearing and in that
place, orange, grapes, commercially cultivated mangoes, pineapples, bananas and
apples are seen. Even though the quantity of the consumption of the fruits has gone
up significantly our traditional nutrient rich fruits are not contributing their share.
Moreover all the newcomers are bathed in pesticides and plant hormones for
preservation. Consumption of milk has increased significantly in Kerala when
compared to the earlier pattern. The credit should go exclusively to MILMA the
Government of Kerala enterprises on the white revolution. Same is the pattern of
consumption of bakery items. Many home made items are now cheaper if
purchased from the bakeries, particularly roasted items and traditional and non
traditional sweets. Unusually high level of colourants, chemical flavours, and
preservatives are used in all the bakery items which are delicious.
3.14.3 Meat and meat products
The consumption of beef, chicken, mutton and fish has increased
tremendously during the last 3 decades. Though the consumption of meat and meat
products has enhanced the nutritious food intake of the population , the quality of
the item is questionable.

99

3.14.4 Fish foods


Fish is a traditional item in the food basket of Kerala which includes both
the fresh water and marine varieties. Here the quality is not up to the mark. The
run-off of excess fertilizer and pesticides into rivers and lakes makes the
freshwater fish prone to toxicity and the consumption of this will affect health
adversely.
3.14.5 Changing lifestyle
There has also been a change in our lifestyle. Our modern society is all
geared up to make life easier for us. The increased food intake coupled with the
sedentary lifestyle has resulted in an increasing incidence of overweight and
obesity. Heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, joint aches, sleeping difficulties,
breathing problems etc. have all been linked to excess weight. The over use of
unhealthy food paved the way to an increased sale of drugs and medicines.
3.14.6. Extravagance
Keralites are in a hangover of shopping craze. Even in the midst of the
crisis created by global depression the shopping festival was a grand success.
Grand shopping festival points to the addiction of Keralites to consumerism. As
per the available data the daily trade volume in Kerala is about Rs 200 crorers.
Keralites have an uncontrollable urge to buy and buy. This craze is visible not
merely in the case of essential commodities like salt, chilly, sugar etc but in the
case of cosmetics, mobile phones and other snobbish items. The force of
Malayalees consumption habit can be seen by just considering his use of mobile
phones. In 1990 it was only ornamental, but now a days it is an indispensible item.
Now there are more than one crore mobile users and Keralites spend 2000 crores
of rupees for mobile calls(Malayalam varika ,2009).
A new beauty cult has been developed and it tempts the Malayalees to go
after those commodities which reportedly enhance beauty. The numerous beauty
parlours in every nook and corner of the state stand witness to this fact. Similarly
consumption of cosmetics, readymade dresses and gold has increased
tremendously over the past few years. As per the available data, Keralites spend

100

about Rs 560crores on cosmetics and about Rs 450 corers for dress. Keralites also
have a craze for gold. Kerala claims about 25% of total gold consumption in the
country.
3.15 Conclusion
In India MPCE have increased in both rural and urban areas over the years.
It is seen that increase in expenditure has been greater in urban areas compared to
rural areas. This shows a wide rural-urban disparity in the monthly per capita
expenditure. The share of food in total expenditure showed a declining trend
throughout the years. Gram and cereal substitutes also have followed the same
pattern. But regarding consumption of pulses there is a marginal increase in the
proportion in Kerala, whereas the all India figures both in rural and urban areas
show no increase at all. The proportion of income expended on milk and milk
products show an increasing trend in rural areas of both Kerala and India whereas a
slight decline in expenditure proportion is observed in the urban areas .Over the
years in both rural and urban areas the monthly expenditure on non food items has
increased. The amount expended on pan, tobacco and intoxicant showed a
declining trend in rural and urban Kerala and India. In both (rural and urban) India
and Kerala fuel and light, miscellaneous goods and services, durable goods etc
showed an increasing trend.
Notes and References
Concepts and Definitions
The main concepts and definitions used by NSSO are given below.
Household : A group of persons normally living together and taking food from a
common kitchen constitutes a household.
Adult: A Person who has completed 15 years of age.
Household size: the size of a household is the total number of persons in the
household.
Household Consumer expenditure : the expenditure incurred by a household on
domestic consumption during the reference period is the household's consumer

101

expenditure. The household consumer expenditure is the total of the monetary


values of consumption of various groups of items, namely (i) Food, Pan (betel
leaves),Tobacco, Intoxicants , Fuel & light, (ii) Clothing and Footwear and
iii)Miscellaneous goods & services and durable articles.
Monthly per capita consumer expenditure (MPCE): For a household, this is its
30 days total consumer expenditure divided by its size. A person's MPCE is
understood as that of the household to which he or she belongs.
Reference period : The annual series of consumer expenditure surveys, up to the
49th round, used a uniform reference period of `last 30 days' for all items of
consumption. In the bigger surveys of the quinquennial series , an additional
reference period of last `365 days' was used for some items of consumption
particularly Clothing, Footwear and Durable goods - but most results were
tabulated using the last 30 days ' data.
Groups of consumption of items : Results on break-up of MPCE over different
items of consumption are presented for 19 broad item groups. These are Cereals,
Grams, Cereal substitute, Pulses ,Pulse products, Milk and Milk products, Edible
Oil, Meat Fish / Eggs, Vegetables, Fruits / Nuts, Sugar, Salt, Spices, Beverages
Refreshments and Processed Food, Pan Tobacco and Intoxicants, Fuel & Light,
Clothing, Footwear, Miscellaneous goods & Services and Durable goods.
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