SP B3: Nutrition Transition

The food system transformation is driven by changing demand patterns, yet demand patterns themselves may also be influenced by structural changes in food supply chains. An important element of these effects is the nutrition transition – a rapid change in dietary patterns towards (often processed) foods with higher fat, caloric, and sugar content, entailing a significant rise in obesity. In developed countries, this has been a consequence of economic development, but in developing countries the nutrition transition is often proceeding alongside with, or sometimes even ahead of, economic development; thus, undernutrition and obesity coexist, sometimes even in the same households. The causes and consequences of the nutrition transition in developing countries and relationships with the agri-food system transformation (e.g., the expansion of supermarkets) are poorly understood. Subproject B3 addresses some of the knowledge gaps, using different econometric techniques and building on both secondary data and primary data collected in developing countries.

Possible topics for doctoral research:


  • The nutrition transition and socioeconomic drivers: analyzing the underlying dynamics
  • Nutrition and health impacts of the supermarket revolution in developing countries
  • Modernizing food systems, the dual burden of malnutrition, and suitable policy interventions



Doctoral researchers involved:

Doctoral researchers of the first cohort:
Iris Butzlaff
Simon Kimenju
Ramona Rischke

Doctoral researchers of the second cohort:
Kathrin Demmler
Marion Krämer

Doctoral researchers of the third cohort:
Makaiko Gonapanyanja Khonje

Principal investigators/supervisors:
Matin Qaim, Stephan Klasen