Introduction: Food away from home (FAFH) have been progressively playing crucial role in the diets of many households in developing countries, Nigeria inclusive. A number of these foods have been reported to be low in micronutrients, high in fat/cholesterol, and energy dense, with consumption attributed to higher prevalence of malnutrition and diet-related non-communicable diseases. Determinants of purchase decisions and consumption of FAFH are less empirically studied in Nigeria, and little is known about what the specificity of consuming FAFH and within-day meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) hold for nutrient availability. Findings are important for public health nutrition programming.
Methods: We used the Nigeria Living Standard Measurement Survey nationally representative household panel data for 2015/16 comprising two time periods (six month intervals) for analysis. Relevant data used for analysis include, among others, household socio-demographic characteristics, income, weekly value of aggregate foods consumed AFH, values of specific food groups (snacks, dairy-based beverages and vegetables) consumed AFH, expenditure on foods and non-food items, and quantities of 120 different food items consumed from which calories and selected nutrients were estimated. Whether (or not) households consumed breakfast, lunch, dinner, or side-dishes AFH were captured. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data, while bootstrap double-hurdle regression (that addresses possible unobserved heterogeneity due to time dynamics in food consumption) was employed to identify key factors determining decisions to consume food AFH and the share of household budget expended on the foods. The estimated regression (econometrics) model is stated as:
H_it = ∑βX_kit + α_i +e_it
where H_it captures the budget share spent on either aggregate food, or specific food groups (snacks, dairy-based beverages, vegetables) consumed AFH respectively. X_kit is a vector of determinants such as socio-demographic characteristics, income, location/regional factors, among others; α_(i ) represents household specific effects, while e_it is the error term.
Findings: Results (descriptive statistics) show that on average, households spent approximately 28% of their total budget on food AFH. For the aggregate food, and the range of food groups (vegetables, dairy-based beverages and snacks) considered, consumption AFH is higher for urban and non-agricultural households, as well as households whose heads had tertiary education. The amount expended on them also increased progressively with higher income levels. This buttresses income growth, urbanization, higher education attainment, and opportunities for non-farm jobs/occupations as vital triggers for consumption of food AFH. Regression results also suggest that the likelihood of households consuming one or more of the selected food groups, and the share of household budget expended on them respectively, will increase with higher income, hours spent on non-farm businesses, urbanization and the presence of children under five years of age and/or adolescents in the household. Consuming food AFH appears to be connected with higher consumption/availability of fats, and lower availability of iron and calcium. Whether households consumed (or did not consume) breakfast or lunch AFH seems to hold little significance for daily per capita calories, proteins and fat consumed by households. However, side dishes and dinner AFH may make a difference. Findings hold important implications for nutrition and health.
Conclusions: Using nationally representative household panel data, we examined, among others, the determinants of consumption of FAFH, and the implications of within-day time of consumption for nutrient availability. We found that increased income, urbanization, higher education attainment, household composition, opportunities for non-farm jobs/occupations and hours spent on non-farm businesses are key determinants of purchase decisions and/or consumption of FAFH. Advancing consumption of FAFH may mean less availability of iron and calcium for households. Taking breakfast or lunch AFH seems to hold little consequence for daily calories, proteins and fat consumed by households while side-dishes and dinner AFH may trigger nontrivial divergence.