Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to clarify the influence that economic growth gives to the food consumption in urban China by taking income gap into consideration. It also proposes an appropriate food policy corresponding to the consumers’ diversified needs for food under the process of economic growth. Design/methodology/approach – Various kinds of methodologies are employed such as the interview analysis, food tasting investigation, group discussion, retail price investigation and the questionnaire survey, etc. for the case study from Shanghai. Findings – Food policy for China in the current stage should be considered to supply food with a constant quality to the poorest segment of the population at cheap price and to correspond to the diversified needs of the general public for food (including high quality and safety intention of top-tier population). Originality/value – Not only the existence of income gap but also the realities of the difference in the food consumption among the poorest segment, the general public and the rich layer of the population are clarified. The food policy which attempts to correspond to the diversified needs for food and to realize a sustainable development of the society is proposed.