The world eats more fruit and vegetables, but not Europe

Daily diets vary considerably in different parts of the world. Between 1991 and 2011, daily consumption per capita was represented mainly by produce and grain, followed by dairy & eggs, meat, sugar & fat and other.

In terms of calories, the intake went from 2,600 calories in 1991 (243 from produce) to 2,870 in 2011 (327 from produce).

World: daily diet in 1991

In 1991, produce represented 33% of a daily diet (500 grams). This percentage was divided into 10% tubers, 14% vegetables and 9% fruit. In 2011, the share increased to 40% (749 grams per day) - 9% tubers, 20% vegetables and 11% fruit.

World: daily diet in 2011

By examining some particular countries, it is possible to see the changes more in detail. It is especially possible to see how Europe is actually going against the general trend.

In the 20 years considered, the daily quantity of vegetables dropped (from 496 grams in 1991 to 396 in 2011), whereas fruit increased slightly (from 343 grams to 386). The consumption of tubers has been rather stable (115 grams in 1991 and 106 in 2011).

In 1991, a person would eat 954 grams of produce, whereas now consumption per capita is of 888 grams.

The US is the leading producer of oilseeds worldwide, followed by Brazil, China, Argentina and India. Americans consume 2.5 times more vegetable oil with respect to 50 years ago.

USA: daily diet in 1991 and in 2011 

Per capita consumption has remained relatively unvaried and they passed from an intake of 2,790 grams per day to 2,729 in 2011. In terms of calories, they went from an intake of 3,525 kcal in 1991 to 3,641 in 2011.

In China, the average calorie intake per person has doubled in the past 50 years and the diet also improved in terms of quality. Chinese people tend to eat double the quantity of fruit and vegetables of an American.

China: daily diet in 1991 and in 2011

By comparing 1991 to 2011, we can see how daily per capita consumption is mainly made up of produce. Daily food intake went from 1,184 grams in 1991 to 2,368 grams in 2001 and the calorie intake grew from 2,432 kcal to 3,073 kcal.

In 1991, a person eat 42% of produce, and in 2011 that percentage increased to 56%.

Germany occupies the fifth place worldwide for alcohol consumption and, just like the Belgians, Danes and Austrians, Germans also love dairy products and eggs. 

Germany: daily diet in 1991 and 2011

From the charts above, we can see how daily per capita quantities remained unvaried.

Daily consumption went from 2,676 grams in 1991 to 2,649 grams in 2011. In terms of calories, the intake went from 3,324 kcal to 3,539 kcal in 2011.

Daily fruit consumption dropped by 2%, whereas that of vegetables increase by the same percentage. Produce intake went from 27% to 25%.

The diet of Spaniards is inspired by the Mediterranean one - produce, dairy products, meat and few grains. 

Spain: daily diet in 1991 and in 2011

There are only some slight changes, with an increase in dairy products and eggs at the expense of produce.

In general, the intake went from 2,827 daily grams of food in 1991 to the 2,399 of 2001 and the calorie intake went from 3,384 kcal to 3,187 kcal.

In 1991, produce represented 40% of the total daily consumption but it dropped to 30% in 2011.


The British eat the same quantities of dairy products and eggs as 50 years ago, but the calorie intake has dropped by 33% due to a lower consumption of butter, cream and animal fats.

UK: daily diet in 1991 and in 2011 

Daily per capita quantities remained practically unvaried, there is only a slight increase of produce.

In general, the daily food intake went from 2,461 grams in 1991 to 2,667 grams in 2011 and the calorie intake went from 3,208 kcal to 3,413 kcal.

Produce consumption went to 30 to 33%.

FreshPlaza processing of and FAOSTAT data

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