From Grains To Greens: Discover the Most Consumed Foods in the World

Published On: January 16, 2024Last Updated: January 16, 2024
Most Eaten Foods in the World

Food is something more than what we consume to stay alive. It’s an expression of love, comfort in stress, and a means of celebration. Whether you are cooking together or fine dining in a high-end restaurant, each experience with food is quite filling.

Though food is more of a regional thing, some staples have blurred the geographical and cultural boundaries. These delicacies have journeyed far and wide, becoming a part of the global palette. From the comforting embrace of rice to the starchy goodness of potatoes, several foods are celebrated for their rich flavors and universal appeal.

So, what’s the most eaten food in the world? This article lists the top 10. Read on and join us on a journey where taste knows no bounds.

10 Most Eaten Foods Around the Globe

Most Consumed Foods Around the Globe

Below are the most consumed foods in the world. Our ranking is based on per capita consumption and per capita production data obtained from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Let’s have a look!

Note: The vegetables and fruits are not included in this list as they are not individual foods.

10. Chicken, Poultry

Most Eaten Foods In The World

Chicken, a global culinary cornerstone, is a staple protein source worldwide. Known for its versatility, chicken graces the table in several forms – from crispy fried delights to savory stews to mouthwatering sandwiches.

Currently, the global chicken industry is raising and slaughtering 74 billion chickens annually. As for chicken meat production only, the figure reached 121.95 million tones in 2021. This increase highlights the increasing demand for poultry products, showcasing its unmatched adaptability and the integral role it plays in diverse cuisines across the globe.

  • Per Capita Consumption (KG): 15.6
  • Leading Producers: Brunei, Brazil, United States, India

9. Pulses

Pulses: Most Eaten Foods In The World

Pulses are widely available protein-rich staple foods worldwide that people largely consume to meet their daily nutritional requirements. Lentils, chickpeas, and several types of beans fall under this category.

To be more precise, it is the daily food item of South Asian and African countries rather than the USA and Europe. Now, as people are inclined to meat alternatives, the demand for pulses is increasing year by year.

It has a magical effect on increasing body immunity against many chronic diseases like digestive issues and cardiovascular diseases since it is low in cholesterol. Moreover, it is the primary source of insoluble fibers, antioxidants, and inflammatory agents.

  • Per Capita Consumption (KG): 18.1
  • Leading Producers: India, Canada, China

8. Seafood

Seafood: Most Eaten Foods In The World

Seafood is a vital protein source for over a billion individuals. It has seen over 20 kg per capita increase in consumption since 1960. This high demand, combined with the serene delicacy of it, makes seafood one of the most expensive foods.

Shrimp, tuna, Salmon, and Pollock take the spotlight, with the United States emerging as a significant consumer of these maritime delights. The diversity of seafood dishes mirrors its worldwide popularity, offering an array of flavors and textures that captivate palates and hearts.

  • Per Capita Consumption (KG): 20.2
  • Leading Producers: Maldives, Iceland, Hong Kong, Portugal

7. Sugar

Sugar

A must-have of the modern diet, sugar boasts a history of a sharp surge in consumption fueled by industrialization and the widespread availability of cheap sweeteners. Sugar is one of the most widely eaten food in the world, averaging around 20 kg per person.

Sugar is used in several food products, like candy, cakes, soft drinks, and desserts. In terms of global scale, in 2022-2023, a total of 177.3 million metric tons of sugar is produced which indicates its increased consumption and demand.

Though the sweetness is deceiving, consuming too much sugar is bad for health, leading to problems like diabetes and obesity.

  • Per Capita Consumption (KG): 20.4
  • Leading Producers: Belize, Mauritius, Fiji, Brazil

6. Maize

Maize

Also known as corn, maize is a vital staple and foremost food source in sub-Saharan Africa. Ranking 6th in human food consumption, with an average of 18.8 kg per capita annually, it is the preferred food for over 900 consumers.

It is estimated that the production quantity of the maize will increase by 32.58% by 2030. And with the high growth rate, the per capita quantity will also increase by 19.46%. Maize is a major source of carbohydrates and a staple in worldwide sustenance.

  • Per Capita Consumption (KG): 18.8
  • Leading Producers: Argentina, United States, Ukraine, Africa

5. Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Ketchup, pizza sauce, marinades, and the ever-tasty shakshuka- is there anything tasty a tomato can’t make? Tomatoes are one of the versatile fruits (or veggie, whatever you consider them!). You can eat them raw, toss them in salads, or make delicious sauces with them.

Tomatoes boast a staggering 177 metric tons of global production every year. It was titled the world’s most popular vegetable in 2017, with a whopping 182M tonnes produced. Tomato offers a low-calorie profile infused with vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.

  • Per Capita Consumption (KG): 21.2
  • Leading Producers: Portugal, China, United States, Italy

4. Potatoes

Potatoes

Potatoes – the 4th most eaten food in the world – witness fining tables of over a billion people. They have become a dietary cornerstone, with a production of over 376 million metric tons in 2021.

This vegetable packs a punch of carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin C, and B vitamins. Sweet potatoes are even considered one of the superfoods that keeps you healthy and thriving.

Besides its solid nutritional value, its taste profile is also commendable. From enjoying them as mashed potatoes to savoring them as French fries, the potatoes have become an impactful crop.

  • Per Capita Consumption (KG): 32.9
  • Leading Producers: Ukraine, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Belgium

3. Wheat

Wheat

Wheat, securing its place as the third most consumed food globally, caters to over 2.5 billion people across 89 countries. It serves as a vital staple for approximately one billion individuals surviving on less than $1.90 a day.

This multi-functional grain takes center stage in diverse cuisines, crafting staples like bread, pasta, and noodles, delivering essential carbohydrates and protein to countless diets. The widespread reliance on wheat underlines its pivotal role as a global dietary cornerstone, ensuring nutrition for millions.

  • Per Capita Consumption (KG): 67
  • Leading Producers: China, Australia, Bulgaria, Denmark

2. Rice

Rice: Most Eaten Foods In The World

What is the most eaten food in the world, and why it is rice? Cultivated in over 100 countries, with a staggering 90% of production hailing from Asia, rice stands as a culinary linchpin.

The rice production quantity is projected to increase by 11.12% by 2030, driven by the high demand and liking.

The widespread love for rice underscores its unparalleled importance as a staple, offering vital nutrition to millions across the globe. It is a powerhouse of nutrients like carbohydrates, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.

  • Per Capita Consumption (KG): 78.4
  • Leading Producers: Guyana, Cambodia, China, Thailand

1. Milk

Milk

Over 6 billion people worldwide consume milk and milk products like cheese, yogurt, or butter. The per capita consumption in developed countries is higher.

However, the demand is increasing in the developing countries as well. Their per capita consumption has also increased by two times since the 1960s. Liked everywhere for its versatility and good nutrition, milk makes a common and well-loved food around the world.

  • Per Capita Consumption (KG): 79.3
  • Leading Producers: New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, Netherlands

Conclusion!

In this flavorful exploration of the world’s most eaten foods, we’ve ventured from comforting grains to delectable greens, discovering global culinary favorites. The journey extends to the nutritional powerhouses of wheat, maize, and the sweet indulgence of sugar.

Seafood, a serene delicacy, and the globally cherished pig add a savory dimension. Chicken, a versatile protein, concludes our culinary odyssey, proving that the joy of food unites us all, celebrating diversity and creating a shared global palette. Bon appétit!

About the Author: Muhammad Arslan

Muhammad Arslan, a dynamic lifestyle blogger, channels his love for food and travel into captivating stories. Embark on a journey with him as he explores the world's culinary wonders and shares the thrill of discovering new destinations.

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