The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to New Zealand Food
New Zealand is a melting pot of different cultures. Most of its people originally came from Europe, so its food reflects a variety of European culinary traditions. Four of the five countries with the most similar food to New Zealand are also English speaking countries. Unusually, these countries tend to be very distant from New Zealand.
- Australia is another former British colony that borders the Pacific Ocean and is located in the Southern Hemisphere. They both tend to eat a lot of meat, especially pork, chicken, and beef, which are popular in both countries. Iconic dishes like the Pavlova dessert and Anzac biscuits are shared between the two nations, with debates over their true origin continuing to this day.
- United Kingdom shares many similarities with New Zealand due to their shared history. Great Britain colonized New Zealand and around 80% its people have British ancestry. As a result, they have many of the same dishes, such as bangers and mash, fish and chips, and meat pies. Both island nations also consume a lot of root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots.
- Canada is another former British colony. Despite their distance and drastically different climate, their cuisine is similar. Both countries share a love for comforting, hearty dishes. Pies, particularly those filled with savory meats, are common in both countries. They embrace the bounty of fresh seafood, with salmon being a favorite in Canada as well as New Zealand. Still, chicken is the most popular meat in both countries.
- France and New Zealand have a strong affinity for seafood, since they have a lot of coastline. Mussels, crayfish, and various fish species feature prominently in New Zealand’s cuisine. Furthermore, both countries tend to consume a lot of cheese. Many high quality dairy products are produced in New Zealand. However, chicken is more widely consumed in New Zealand.
- Ireland and New Zealand are both islands with pastoral landscapes. Sheep farming has deep roots in both countries. As a result, lamb is featured prominently in many of their traditional dishes. These countries also have many stews in their cuisine, featuring potatoes, vegetables, and meat. Whether mashed, boiled, or roasted, potatoes are a staple side dish in many of their meals.
The Least Similar Cuisines to New Zealand Food
Four of the five countries with the least similar food to New Zealand are located in Africa. Moreover, these countries are much less wealthy than New Zealand. Most of their people are farmers and they have few global chain restaurants. These countries also tend to have hotter climates than New Zealand.
- Chad is a predominately Muslim country that borders the Sahara Desert. Sorghum and millet are the two most commonly consumed grains in the country. These crops are well adapted to the Sahel’s harsh climate. Beef is the most popular meat in Chad, although the country consumes significantly less meat than New Zealand.
- Central African Republic is another former French colony located to the south of Chad. Cassava, yam, and taro are three of the most commonly eaten staple ingredients in the country. Furthermore, cheese and yogurt are rarely consumed in this country, in contrast to New Zealand.
- South Sudan is located to the east of Central African Republic. It is another country where cassava is the staple food, however the country eats its share of sorghum as well. Porridge is one of the most popular dishes in the country. Pork and chicken are more widely consumed in New Zealand than South Sudan.
- Micronesia is relatively close to New Zealand, since it is located in the South Pacific Ocean as well. However, their cuisine is significantly different. The country relies heavily on seafood, tropical fruits, and root crops. Its relative isolation has limited its exposure to foreign influences on its typical diet.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is yet another country located in the middle of Africa on this list. Cassava is the dominant staple food in the country. The most commonly eaten meat in Congo is freshwater fish, whereas pork and chicken are more commonly eaten in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Chicken, Pork
Fruit: Banana, Apple
Vegetable: Carrot, Tomato
Starch: Wheat, Potato
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.