Food consumption, urbanisation and rural transformations in Southeast Asia
By 2050, nearly 63 per cent of the total population of Southeast Asia is expected to live in urban areas. Not only is urbanisation profoundly changing urban-rural relations, it is also shifting patterns of food consumption. Governments in the region are modernising food systems, in part to meet the needs of urban consumers for greater food quality and safety. But policies are not always based on evidence, and the focus on large-scale agro-industry and modern retail can undermine the informal economy, which is still important for food security and employment. An emerging narrative recognises the need to leverage urban-rural linkages for more inclusive development.