This map reflects the data from the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It reveals the two most commonly consumed starches in proportion to each other, in each country. Both cereals and roots make the list. The cereals include barley, corn, millet, oat, rice, rye, sorghum, and wheat. The roots include cassava, potato, sweet potato, and yam. The three most commonly starches consumed across the world are rice, wheat, and potatoes. Rice is most commonly consumed in East and South Asia. Wheat and potatoes tend to be eaten in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia.
These maps somewhat significantly differ from the 2 Most Common Crops per Country map. This is because many crops are not used as food supply. Furthermore, food supplies are traded commodities between countries. For instance, Portugal exports olives and imports most of its wheat. The following article focuses on the specifics of each continent.
Wheat and potatoes are by far the two most commonly consumed starches in Europe. Interestingly enough the top two in every European country are potatoes and wheat. This is not surprising, since bread, pasta, and potatoes are common staples of European cuisine. Wheat is the most commonly grown crop in Europe. It has been grown there for thousands of years. In contrast, the potato is relatively new. It actually originated in South America and only arrived in Europe in the 16th century. Belarus consumes an especially large amount of potatoes.
In North America, Canada and the United States also consume a lot of wheat and potato products, like their European counterparts. However, the cuisine is different in Mexico and much of Central America, where corn is the most consumed starch. It is usually ground into flour and cooked. Corn originated in Mexico, so it is not surprising it is so popular in this region. Rice is another commonly consumed starch in the Caribbean. Rice is commonly eaten in West Africa, so the people with African ancestry in the region continued this culinary tradition.
The potato is native to the Andes Mountains, so it is not surprising to see it being a popular starch in the region. In the tropical regions of South America, rice is a common staple. People with West African ancestry helped establish its cultivation in the region. In Paraguay, cassava is the most commonly consumed starch. The Guarani people use it to make baked rolls, called chipa. In the southern portion of the continent, where European influence is highest, it is logical to see that wheat is the most consumed starch, since immigrants from Europe brought over their culture.
A wide variety of different starches are consumed in Africa. In East Africa and especially Southern Africa, corn is extremely popular. It is relatively new, since it was first brought to the continent by Europeans in the 16th century. Cassava is another plant from the Americas that eventually became staple food in Africa. It is popular in the tropical regions of Africa. Rice is mainly consumed in two parts of Africa: West Africa and Madagascar. In the Sahel, sorghum and millet are popular staples. In the Arab countries of North Africa, wheat is the most consumed starch, like much of the Middle East and Europe.
Rice is the most consumed starch in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia, while wheat is the most consumed starch in the rest of Asia. Both crops are native to Asia. Interestingly enough, Myanmar is the most rice dependent country in the world, while Afghanistan is the most wheat dependent. Still, India and East Asia countries eat their fair share of wheat as well. Bread is popular in India, while noodles are common in East Asia. Like in Africa, cassava is most popular in tropical regions, like Cambodia and Indonesia.
Due to European immigration, wheat and potatoes are commonly consumed in Australia and New Zealand. Fiji, Samoa, and New Caledonia also eat a lot of imported rice and wheat. Before European colonization, taro, breadfruit, and coconuts were their main staple foods. Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are the only countries in the world where the most consumed starch is the sweet potato. This crop actually originated in Peru. The exact time period it came to Melanesia is disputed, but it is now widely grown in these countries.
Complete list of most commonly consumed starches per country