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 British Food
United Kingdom is known for its rich and diverse culinary heritage. The country has many hearty and comforting dishes. Potatoes, meat, and cheese are all common ingredients in its cuisine. Four of the five countries with the most similar food are located in the northern part of Europe, so their climates are relatively cool. With the exception of Switzerland, these countries have a lot of coastline as well.
- Ireland was ruled by Britain for many years and their close proximity has fostered many culinary similarities between the two nations. Ingredients like potatoes, carrots, and dairy products feature prominently in both cuisines. Traditional dishes like roast dinners, shepherd’s pie, and the iconic fish and chips are commonly eaten in both nations. Additionally, the their typical breakfast is similar as well.
- Sweden‘s food culture shares many parallels with Britain’s. Wheat and potatoes are the two most common sources of grain in these countries. However, one big difference is that the British tend to eat more chicken. Both countries have a passion for baking pastries. Their bakeries offer an array of bread, cakes, and pastries that cater to a love for sweet and savory baked goods.
- Switzerland and Great Britain are cultural melting pots, so they wide variety of different ingredients in their cuisines. Both have a strong tradition of dairy production. Swiss cheese varieties, such as Emmental and Gruyère, are well-known globally. Similarly, British cheeses like Cheddar and Stilton are popular as well. Furthermore, potatoes are especially popular staples in both cuisines.
- Canada is a former British colony that also borders the Atlantic Ocean, so it is no surprise that their food is similar as well. Traditional British fare, such as bangers and mash, Yorkshire pudding, and shepherd’s pie, are also commonly found Canadian households. Due to the globalization of food markets, the ingredients in their cuisine are quite similar.
- Norway and the United Kingdom both border the North Sea and have a strong traditions of fishing, so seafood plays a prominent role in their cuisines. In Norway, dishes like rakfisk and lutefisk have similarities with traditional British fish dishes, such as fish and chips or smoked salmon. Both countries tend to eat a lot of chicken, pork, and cheese as well. Furthermore, bread is a fundamental part of the diet in both Norway and Britain.
The Least Similar Cuisines to British Food
Four of the five countries with the least similar food to the United Kingdom are located in Africa. The climate in these countries is also significantly warmer. This affects what type of crops are grown in these countries. With the exception Micronesia, these nations have little coastline well. Moreover, these five countries are significantly less developed than the United Kingdom.
- 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. Although beef is the most popular meat in both countries, it is much less widely consumed in Chad.
- South Sudan‘s official language is English, but its food is far different from the United Kingdom’s. Cassava is the country’s staple food, however its people eat their share of sorghum as well. Beef is the most popular meat in South Sudan, while chicken and pork are more widely consumed in the United Kingdom.
- Central African Republic is a former French colony that borders both Chad and South Sudan. Cassava, yam, and taro are three of the most commonly eaten staple ingredients in the country. Furthermore, cheese, meat, and yogurt are rarely consumed in this country, in contrast to the United Kingdom.
- Micronesia another country on this list that uses English as its official language. It is a group of small islands located in the South Pacific Ocean. The country relies heavily on seafood, tropical fruits, and root crops as a result. Its relative isolation has limited its exposure to foreign influences on its typical diet.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is another country on this list located in the middle of Africa. Cassava is the dominant staple food in the country. The most commonly eaten meat in Congo is freshwater fish, whereas saltwater fish, pork, and chicken are more commonly eaten in the United Kingdom.
United Kingdom’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Chicken, Pork
Fruit: Apple, Banana
Vegetable: Tomato, Carrot
Starch: Wheat, Potato
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.