Research on Finnish Society 10(1):2017

Does sugar sweeten the pill of low income? Inequalities in the consumption of various foods between Finnish income groups from 1985 to 2012

Taru Lindblom
University of Turku

Numerous studies have shown that social inequality can be reflected through poor food choices. Factors such as low-income, low level of education and low socio-economic position are associated with food consumption behaviours that are considered less beneficial. This study explores the disparities found among income and other socio-economic groups in terms of their food consumption shares. To find out how the food consumption patterns have developed in Finland, a nationally representative Household Budget Survey for the years 1985–2012 is used. Food consumption trends of the income quintiles are analyzed with ANOVA. The shares of food consumption expenditure spent on Meat, Vegetables, Fruit and berries, and Sugars are used as dependent variables; while education, age and household type are used as control variables. The disparities between the income groups have diminished, with meat and sugar consumption being most a ected by the studied factors. Low income does not necessarily translate to a household’s less healthy eating habits. Rather, households in the lowest quintile are now depicted by the convergence of their fruit and vegetable consumption with the other income groups.

Keywords: Food consumption, social inequality, income, Finland, trends, population survey

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