Vegetable Consumption in Asia

How many kilograms of vegetables do people in Asia eat every year?

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Map of the vegetable consumption in Europe.

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We recently looked at vegetable consumption in Europe, which showed some interesting outliers. Today we’ll have a closer look at the vegetable consumption in Asia.

Vegetables, most of us didn’t like them as a kid. But most adults quickly realize they are very healthy and there are some amazing ways to cook some delicious vegetables. The amount of vegetables one needs, depends on the age and sex. But on average this is about 240 grams per adult per day or 87.6 kg per year.

We can see that a about half of the Asian countries consume well above this requirement. The other half seems to be well below this requirement. The difference between the biggest (China at 369 kg) and smallest consumer (Yemen at 22 kg) is absolutely massive. This difference is caused by a multitude of factors that influence the consumption of vegetables: Poverty, growing climate, population density, eating culture and affordability of meat and seafood.

China’s high vegetable consumption is pretty impressive. Croatia’s consumption of 302 kg was already high, but China manages to consume even more. The consumption in Central Asia and some Middle Eastern countries is also very high.

But how exactly does the FAO define vegetables? It probably matches mostly with what you would consider a vegetable. However, there are a few interesting exceptions. Potatoes are not counted as vegetables. Mushrooms, melons and watermelons are. Yes, the FAO considers melons and watermelons vegetables. This is the FAO’s explanation: “This grouping differs from international trade classifications for vegetables in that it includes melons and watermelons, which are normally considered to be fruit crops. But, whereas fruit crops are virtually all permanent crops, melons and watermelons are similar to vegetables in that they are temporary crops”. Want to see the full list? Have a look here.


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