Does Supermarket Purchase Affect the Dietary Practices of Households? Some Empirical Evidence from Guatemala


  • Abay Asfaw

    1. PREM Gender and Development Group and MENA Social and Economic Development Group, World Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433 and International Food Policy Research Institute, 2033 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006 (
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  • This article was written while he was working for IFPRI. He would like to thank Marie Ruel, Corinna Hawkes, Cara Eckhardt, and Yisehac Yohannes for their help in classifying different food items into useful categories, and the World Bank for allowing use of the Guatemala LSMS.


Very little is known about how changes in the retail environment affect consumers’diet and health status, especially in developing countries. This article examines the impact of supermarket purchases on the dietary practices of households in Guatemala, using an instrumental variable method to take account of the potential endogeneity of the supermarket purchase variable. The results reveal that supermarket purchases increase the share of highly and partially processed foods at the expense of staple foods, and are also positively and significantly associated with individual Body Mass Index. Different policy moves should be envisaged towards‘healthier’diets.