I’m guessing you know that Americans consume a ton of a calories. You may also have heard that we spend less of our income on food than other countries. But to actually see on a world map how we compare, yields a quite shocking realization of how wide the disparity is.

A visualization of the 20 highest and lowest calorie consuming countries compared with those same countries’ percent of income spent on food. Built by Food Service Warehouse.

Source: Food Service Warehouse

Visualizing the World’s Food Consumption takes 40 countries and compares two important data points: daily calories consumed and percent of income spent on food (average per person). The findings are striking. The countries at the low-end of calorie consumption spend almost half their income on food, whereas the high calorie countries generally spend less than 25%. That’s all fine and dandy until you see that Americans consume an average of 3,770 calories per day but spend only 6.9% of our income on food. No, that’s not a typo: 50% vs. 6.9%. Angolans? They are eating only 1,950 calories per day but spend a whopping 80% on food.

A few other highlights noted in the study:

  • 14 of the 20 lowest-consumption countries are located in Africa
  • Romania is a big outlier for the high-consumption countries, spending almost 35% on food
  • Not one of the lowest-consumption countries is located in Europe

The fact that Americans are consuming an average of 3,770 calories a day is just crazy. I know we have a weight problem, but seeing the issue outlined in one simple stat really brings it home.

There are numerous reasons for the differences between food consumption and food spending, and the deeper you dig, the more complicated the issue becomes. But know this: The next time you find yourself complaining that the price of cheese has risen dramatically, count your blessings because it could be way worse. Click on the image above to launch the interactive infographic (hover over the numbers to see the stats).


Note: I was confused as to why some continents were so poorly represented (Asia anyone?) in the infographic. After checking out the accompanying info, the source notes that they wanted to “…create an interactive display of daily calorie consumption for the extreme 20 countries in the world…” Apparently, India, Brazil, or China for that matter, didn’t factor on the ‘extreme’ meter.