Many of us would readily admit that we have an unhealthy obsession with our favourite foods. Given the right set of circumstances, we can all dispose of unholy amounts of grub. However, there are some countries who set the standard for specific gastronomic greed. Here are the nations that are the biggest consumers of seven popular foods and drinks.
1. Most meat
Meat consumption varies enormously across the world. Countries such as India and Bangladesh hardly touch it, while it forms the backbone of culinary culture in Argentina and South Africa. However, when it comes to the global leaders, it’s a two horse race, with Australia just edging out the USA with a whopping 199lbs per capita to 198.5.
When it comes to fish, however, there is no contest. The Maldives eat an astonishing 400lbs per capita - nearly twice as much as Iceland in second place. That’s the equivalent of everyone eating 1,000 fish and chips per year!
2. Most wine
There are many nations around the world that produce, and drink, some excellent wines. From the revered vineyards of France to the up and coming wineries of the New World, the beverage is almost universally beloved. Despite the prevalence of wine obsessive nations, the country that consumes the most comes as rather a shock.
Residents of The Vatican knock back nearly 115 pints of the stuff each every year, sending it way out in front as the biggest wine consumer in the world. The sight of sozzled clergy must be an unexpected bonus for the five million tourists that visit annually.
3. Most potatoes
Over the years, many stereotypical sleights have been made against the Irish for their love of potatoes. The tuber has now become as synonymous with the Emerald Isle as Guinness or shamrocks.
It may come as a surprise to learn, however, that they are not even close to the top 10 global potato eaters. Belarus tops the list, with a vast 403lbs consumed per person. That’s 37 bags each, a year. Belorussians must love their chips.
4. Most beer
The title of “world’s best beer drinkers” has been heatedly debated in pubs and bars for centuries. Like so many toxically masculine arguments, discussions are often pointless and nearly always lead to the wrong conclusion. In terms of pure consumption, the clear winners are the Czechs, who put back 302 pints per capita. Hopefully that settles future angry pub disputes.
5. Most sugar
America may have been beaten in the meat event, but there is one category where they reign supreme. US citizens get through over 100lbs of sugar each per year - more than twice the level of their nearest competitors. For context, that amount is the equivalent of everyone in the States drinking 3 medium cans of coca-cola, every day, without fail. Perhaps they should reign it in a tad.
6. Most tea
There is nothing more British than drinking tea. We’ve fought wars over it, built an empire on it and dunked biscuits in it for hundreds of years. It seems almost an affront to our national honour, therefore, to admit that we are not the greatest global tea drinkers. That accolade must go to the Turkish, who go through 7lbs of tea leaves per capita. Brits need to take a long, hard look at ourselves and seriously up our tea drinking game.
7. Most cheese
As we have seen, stereotypes should always be taken with a pinch of salt when it comes to food. However, this does not mean that they do not have a grain of truth. With this in mind, we can reveal that the nation that gets through the most cheese is indeed France.
However, the competition is closer than you might think, with the French only getting through about 2lbs more per capita than second place Iceland. The Nordic island seems destined to be forever the bridesmaid when it comes to global eating titles.
The planet’s eating habits reveal some fascinating insights about our various food cultures. More than anything, they prove that you should never take a stereotype as gospel, and that every nation has their own claim to foodie fame. We should all grab our favourite grub and head to Vatican City for a wine filled celebration of our own greediness. Cheers!