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3. Global and regional food consumption patterns and trends: Previous page | 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9

In short, it would appear that the world has made significant progress in raising food consumption per person. The increase in the world average consumption would have been higher but for the declines in the transition economies that occurred in the 1990s. It is generally agreed, however, that those declines are likely to revert in the near future. The growth in food consumption has been accompanied by significant structural changes and a shift in diet away from staples such as roots and tubers towards more livestock products and vegetable oils (4). Table 1 shows that current energy intakes range from 2681 kcal per capita per day in developing countries, to 2906 kcal per capita per day in transition countries and 3380 kcal per capita per day in industrialized countries. Data shown in Table 2 suggest that per capita energy supply has declined from both animal and vegetable sources in the countries in economic transition, while it has increased in the developing and industrialized countries.

Table 2. Vegetable and animal sources of energy in the diet (kcal per capita per day)

Region

1967 - 1969

1977 - 1979

1987 - 1989

1997 - 1999

T

V

A

T

V

A

T

V

A

T

V

A

Developing countries

2059

1898

161

2254

2070

184

2490

2248

242

2681

2344

337

Transition countries

3287

2507

780

3400

2507

893

3396

2455

941

2906

2235

671

Industrialized countries

3003

2132

871

3112

2206

906

3283

2333

950

3380

2437

943

T, total kcal; V, kcal of vegetable origin; A, kcal of animal origin (including fish products).

Source: FAOSTAT, 2003.

Similar trends are evident for protein availability; this has increased in both developing and industrialized countries but decreased in the transition countries. Although the global supply of protein has been increasing, the distribution of the increase in the protein supply is unequal. The per capita supply of vegetable protein is slightly higher in developing countries, while the supply of animal protein is three times higher in industrialized countries.

Globally, the share of dietary energy supplied by cereals appears to have remained relatively stable over time, representing about 50% of dietary energy supply. Recently, however, subtle changes appear to be taking place (see Fig. 1). A closer analysis of the dietary energy intake shows a decrease in developing countries, where the share of energy derived from cereals has fallen from 60% to 54% in a period of only 10 years. Much of this downwards trend is attributable to cereals, particularly wheat and rice, becoming less preferred foods in middle-income countries such as Brazil and China, a pattern likely to continue over the next 30 years or so. Fig. 2 shows the structural changes in the diet of developing countries over the past 30-40 years and FAO’s projections to the year 2030 (3).

Figure 1. The share of dietary energy derived from cereals

Source: adapted from reference 4 with the permission of the publisher.

WHO 03.19

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