We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

E-book purchase
Choose a subscription

Downloaded copy on your device does not expire. Includes 4 years of Bookshelf Online.


Where applicable, tax will be added to the above price prior to payment.

E-book purchasing help


Food and Nutrition Economics

Fundamentals for Health Sciences

George C. Davis and Elena L. Serrano

Publication Date - April 2016

ISBN: 9780199379118

288 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

A much-needed resource for non-economists looking to understand the basic economic principles that govern our food and nutritional systems.


Winner of the 2017 Quality of Communication Award presented by The Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

As the importance of food and nutrition becomes more widely recognized by practitioners and researchers in the health sciences, one persisting gap in the knowledge base remains: what are the economic factors that influence our food and our health?

Food and Nutrition Economics offers a much-needed resource for non-economists looking to understand the basic economic principles that govern our food and nutritional systems. Comprising both a quick grounding in nutrition with the fundamentals of economics and expert applications to food systems, it is a uniquely accessible and much-needed bridge between previously disparate scholarly and professional fields.

This book is intended for upper level undergraduates, graduate students, and health professionals with no background in economics who recognize that economics affects much of their work. Concerned because previous encounters with economics have been hampered by math hurdles? Don't be; this book offers a specialized primer in consumer economics (including behavioral economics of food consumption), producer economics, market-level analysis, cost-effectiveness, and cost-benefit analysis, all in an accessible and conversational manner that requires nothing more than middle-school math acumen.

Grounding these lessons in contemporary issues such as soft drink taxes, food prices, convenience, nutrition education programs, and the food environment, Food and Nutrition Economics is an innovative and needed entry in the rapidly expanding universe of food studies, health science, and their related fields.


  • The first economics text written expressly for students and professionals in the health sciences
  • Conversational tone supplemented with liberal use of graphics and illustrations to maximize learning
  • An ongoing dialogue between a hypothetical nutritionist and economist at the beginning and end of each chapter to demonstrate effective communication across disciplines
  • Requires minimal mathematics background -- highest level of math required for the book is grade 6-8

About the Author(s)

George C. Davis is a trained economist and a professor in the Virginia Tech Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise and Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. His teaching and research programs both are interdisciplinary as he works with health scientists to understand issues at the intersection of nutrition, health, and economics.

Elena L. Serrano is a trained nutritionist and associate professor in in the Virginia Tech Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise. She is Director of the Virginia Family Nutrition Program, aimed at promoting healthy eating among SNAP-eligible audiences throughout Virginia, and her research has focused on identifying and testing different programs, initiatives, and strategies to improve dietary quality and prevent childhood obesity among low-income youth.

Table of Contents

    About the Authors

    Part I: An Introduction to Nutrition Preface

    1: Food, Nutrients, and Health: An Overview
    2: Food, Nutrients, and Health: Some Data

    Part II: The Economics Food Consumption Preface

    3: Income and the Foundations
    4: Income and the Importance of Substitution
    5: Prices
    6. Convenience and Time
    7: Information and Preferences
    8: Now or Later
    9: Insights from Behavioral Economics
    10: Neuroeconomics: Pointing Toward a Unifying Framework for Decision Making

    Part III: The Economics Food Production Preface

    11: An Overview of the Food System, Economic Systems, and Systems Theory
    12: Profit and Supply for Farms and Firms
    13: Production and Profit Beyond the Farm Gate

    Part IV: The Determination of Food Prices and Quantities in Competitive Markets Preface

    14: Demand and Supply: Prices and Quantities in a Competitive Market
    15: Horizontally and Vertically Related Competitive Markets

    Part V: Cost Effectiveness and Cost Benefit Analysis Preface

    16: Cost-Effectiveness and Cost-Benefit Analysis

    Appendix: Economic Methodology 101

Related Title

Nutritional Anthropology

Nutritional Anthropology: Biocultural Perspectives on Food and Nutrition

Second Edition

Darna L. Dufour, Alan H. Goodman, and Gretel H. Pelto