Historically, the challenge for humans has been to secure a sufficient supply of food to stave off hunger and starvation. As a result, much of the research on food and agriculture in the past century has focused on issues related to production efficiency, food supply, and farm profitability. In recent years, however, farmers, agribusiness, policy makers, and academics have increasingly turned their attention away from the farm and toward the food consumer and to issues related to food consumption. This Handbook provides an overview of the economics of food consumption and policy and is a useful reference for academics and graduate students interested in food economics and the consumer-end of the supply chain. It is also relevant to those employed in food and agricultural industries, policy makers, and activist groups.
The first section covers the application of the core theoretical and methodological approaches of the economics of food consumption and policy. The second part concentrates on policy issues related to food consumption. Several chapters focus on the theoretical and conceptual issues relevant in food markets, such as product bans, labeling, food standards, political economy, and scientific uncertainty. Additional chapters discuss policy issues of particular interest to the consumer-end of the food supply chain, such as food safety, nutrition, food security, and development. The final section serves as an introduction to particular issues and current topics in food consumption and policy.