Snacking in Mexico

 "Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es"  A. Brillat-Savarin, 1755-1826

One of the largest changes in the twentieth century is the largely out-of-sight progress in agricultural technology.   Due to the relentless efficiency of mechanization and scientific breeding, more food products than ever are available at much cheaper costs.  Had this transformation not occurred, the growth of human populations would have been arrested by famine.  The globalization of national economies also meant that most countries are now flooded with non-traditional types of food, whether domestically grown or imported.

New food items do not appear overnight, as they are introduced gradually.  As with any new product, there is a process of innovation diffusion in which some people take to them initially while others prefer to stick to their old habits.  We will now cite some survey data from the TGI Mexico study.  This is a survey of 10,316 persons between the ages of 12 to 64 years old conducted during the year 2002.  

Our interest is in the consumption of food snacks (such as snack cakes), which obviously represented a sharp departure from the traditional staple diet of Mexico.  According to the TGI Mexico study, the weekly consumption incidences are:

Since the TGI Mexico study here is a cross-sectional study conducted in one year, we cannot trace the diffusion of consumption of these products over time.  But in the next five charts, we show the incidences by age/sex groups.  Within each snack category, the incidences fall in a decreasing pattern by age within sex.  Thus, the adoption of these new products occurs most likely within the youngest of each generation.  Unfortunately, the lack of time series data does not allow us to determine if we are seeing either an exorable growth in consumption that began a long time ago, or that these are life-cycle habits that are eventually weaned.  The differences in consumption between the sexes are much smaller by comparison.

(posted by Roland Soong, 5/23/2003)

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