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Food Data Collection in Household Consumption and Expenditure Surveys : Guidelines for Low- and Middle-Income Countries


This is a reference document for designing food consumption and expenditure modules in household surveys. Food makes up the largest share of total household expenditure in low-income countries and, accordingly, constitutes a sizeable share of the economy. Proper measurement of food consumption is, therefore, central to the assessment and monitoring of various dimensions of well-being – food security, nutrition, health, and poverty – of any population.

Current practices for collecting consumption data differ widely across surveys, countries, and time, compromising the quality and comparability of resulting data and measures. These guidelines are intended to improve the measurement of food consumption and harmonize practices for designing food consumption modules.  They include feedback received from representatives of national statistical offices, international organizations, survey practitioners, academics, and experts across different disciplines (statistics, economics, nutrition, food security, and analysis) and have been endorsed by the United Nations Statistical Commission (edited for language).


This Guidebook is a co-publication of The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and The World Bank. It was prepared as part of the work program of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Food Security, Agricultural and Rural Statistics and endorsed by the forty-ninth session of the United Nations Statistical Commission, New York, 29 March 2018. The drafting team was coordinated by Nathalie Troubat (FAO) and Alberto Zezza (World Bank).

Issued on 

Apr, 2019