This map reflects the data from the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It reveals the two most commonly consumed meats in proportion to each other, in each country. The meats included are beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and fish. Fish category includes many different species of fish and also other seafood, since there is a wide variety of fish species eaten in different regions. Compared to fruits and starches, there are a relatively few types of meats commonly eaten throughout the world.
Pork is especially popular in Europe compared to other regions of the world. Pork is generally less expensive than other types of meat, such as beef or lamb, and it can be produced more efficiently, which makes it a popular choice. Chicken is another widely consumed meat in Europe, with a higher consumption in Central and Eastern European countries. In comparison, seafood tends to be more popular in Western and Northern European countries.
Africa consumes less pork than Europe, partly because pigs were domesticated in Eurasia and not well-suited for hot climates. Fish is a staple food in both coastal countries and tropical areas with many rivers and freshwater lakes. Beef and lamb are commonly eaten in the Sahel and Horn of Africa. Pastoral communities in the region have a long tradition of cattle raising, where they move their herds to different grazing areas depending on the season. Chicken is also quite popular throughout the continent.
The continent of Asia has a wide range of cultural traditions, resulting in great diversity of meat consumption. Pork is especially popular in East Asia and Southeast Asian countries with few Muslims. Chicken is also widely consumed, especially in Western Asia. Beef and lamb are more commonly consumed in Central Asia, where there is a vast amount of grazing land. Fish is also a staple food in many coastal regions of Asia. In fact, many Hindus only consume fish or are vegetarian.
Chicken is the most commonly consumed meat in Oceania. Unsurprisingly, fish form a large part of the diet in the region, since many countries in the South Pacific are islands and their people live close to coast. Interestingly enough, pigs are deeply rooted in cultural traditions of Papua New Guinea. They are often used as forms of payment or compensation. Sea-faring Austronesian people brought both chickens and pigs to these islands over a thousand years ago.
Like Australia, the most commonly consumed meats in Canada and the United States are chicken and beef. In fact, chicken is the most popular meat in every major country in North America, with the exception of the Bahamas. Pork is another widely consumed meat in the region. Mexico and Cuba are two countries where it is especially popular. Given that Spanish cuisine is characterized by its abundant use of pork, it is not surprising that some Latin American countries have also adopted this.
The consumption of meat in South America is relatively uniform. Chicken and beef are the most popular meats in the region. Beef is particularly popular in countries like Argentina and Uruguay where cattle farming is a major industry. Fish tends to be consumed more in Peru where ceviche has its origins. Pork is not as popular in South America as in Europe. Like in Africa, the hot climate of the region makes pig-farming tough. Moreover, indigenous South American cultures do not have pork in their traditional diets.