Industries in Depth

Which countries spend the most on food? This map will show you

Apples are displayed in a wheel barrow during an event promoting Polish apples in Warsaw August 6, 2014. Moscow announced its ban on most fruit and vegetable imports from Poland last week following the European Union's decision to impose sanctions targeting Russia's banking, oil and defence sectors because of the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine. Poland is the world's largest exporter of apples with more than two-thirds of them going to Russia. The statistics office put the value of Poland's apple exports to Russia last year at 273 million euros ($366 million).   REUTERS/Franciszek Mazur/Agencja Gazeta (POLAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS AGRICULTURE) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. POLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN POLAND - RTR41HA6

The more developed a country is, the smaller the percentage of household income it spends on food. Image: REUTERS/Franciszek Mazur/Agencja Gazeta

Alex Gray
Senior Writer, Formative Content
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Industries in Depth?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Agriculture, Food and Beverage is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Agriculture, Food and Beverage

Americans spend just 6.4% of their household income on food. That’s according to the latest figures compiled by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Generally speaking, the more developed a country is, the smaller the percentage of household income it spends on food, as this map shows.

Image: World Economic Forum
Countries that spend the least

There are only eight countries in the world that spend less than 10% of their household income on food. Four of these are in Europe: the UK is third at 8.2%, followed by Switzerland at 8.7%; Ireland spends 9.6% and Austria 9.9%.

The remaining four countries are spread across the globe. The US spends the least at 6.4%, Singapore spends the second lowest amount at 6.7%. Canada spends 9.1% on food, while Australia spends 9.8%.

Countries that spend the most

Nigeria spends over half of household income on food, and there are nine other countries that spend over 40% on food.

Four of them are in Africa: Nigeria 56.4%; Kenya 46.7%; Cameroon 45.6%; and Algeria 42.5%. Four are in Asia: Kazakhstan 43.0%; Philippines 41.9%; Pakistan 40.9%; and Azerbaijan 40.1%. Guatemala is the only South American country to appear in the list and spends 40.6% of its household income on food.

Image: World Economic Forum

The figures do not mean that food is more expensive in Nigeria than in the US. In fact, quite the reverse. The average American spends $2,392 per year on food, the average Nigerian half that: $1,132. The average Kenyan spends just $543 a year on food.

However, there can be wide disparities within a country.

Over the past 25 years, the poorest 20% of households in the US spent between 28.8% and 42.6% on food, compared with 6.5% to 9.2% spent by the wealthiest 20% of households.

Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Industries in DepthFood and Water
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

1:50

Top 5 countries leading the sustainable tourism sector

Robin Pomeroy and Linda Lacina

April 29, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum