Food Consumed per Capita, Selected Countries

Food Consumed Selected Countries in grams per capita per day

Source: Overseas Development Institute (ODI), 2014. Derived from FAOSTAT.

Each society and culture can be represented by a diet, which reflects a preference for specific food sources. Historically, local diets were coordinated by the availability of food supplies, which tended to reflect a scarcity of calories and proteins. The core of the food consumed were cereals (rice, wheat, corn) and starchy roots (potato, turnip, beet). Looking at a sample of developing economies, it is quite apparent that diets have substantially changed in terms of total intake and composition.

The growth in the consumption of animal products (e.g. meat, eggs, milk) is the most significant change since it is associated with higher-quality food sources. The consumption of vegetables has also increased, also reflecting a switch towards higher-quality food sources. The conventional diet leaning on cereals and starchy roots did not experience any notable change, implying that as incomes improve, populations are less leaning on conventional diets. This presses new demands on food systems and requires more extensive food distribution systems.