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Countries That Spend the Most on Food

The percentage of consumer expenses used to buy food is often highest where food security is lowest.

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Eurostat is a Luxembourg-based Directorate-General of the European Commission that provides statistical figures and information for European Union member countries and European Free Trade Association countries as well. Eurostat also publishes information about how each countries' respective spending on food is reflective of each countries' household expenses. It seems that the richer countries spend proportionately less on food, regardless of other household expenses. This does not include expenses on eating out at restaurants. This could be attributed to the higher cost of healthcare and other living expenses in these countries. The United Nations and United States' Department of Agriculture also publish similar statistics for other countries that have allowed us to compare these variables across countries from around the globe. The figures that follow are for selected countries spending the largest percentages of their consumer expenses on food, none of which could be said to be affluent, industrialized nations. Many of the countries' citizenries making the list have little money to spend on the household level, and therefore a high percent of their money must be spent on basic needs, especially food.

5. The Philippines - 41.9%

The Philippines is a southeast Asian country known for its aquamarine waters and beaches. Unfortunately, it is also known for its high income-to-cost ratio when it comes to food prices. In the Philippines, the average resident spends just over 40% of their average income on food. There are multiple reasons for this. For one thing, the Philippines is extremely prone to natural disasters, particularly typhoons, which can have a disastrous effect on crops. In addition, lack of adequate government policy leads to food insecurity in the country.

4. Kazakhstan - 42.8%

The largest landlocked country in the world, Kazakhstan, a former USSR member, is found in Central Asia. Despite its large size, Kazakhstan has a relatively small population of around 18 million people. Consumers in Kazakhstan spend just under half of their take-home income on food, at 42.8%. The average yearly income in Kazakhstan is around 3,000 USD.

3. Cameroon - 45.5% ​

Cameroon is a country found in Central Africa. Cameroonian cuisine is seen as an eclectic mix of African cuisines, as the country is centrally located within the continent. Some commonly consumed foods include cassava, potatoes, bread, and beans. Unfortunately, food costs in Cameroon are very high, with the average Cameroonian spending nearly 45.5% of their income on food. In fact, Cameroon's biggest city, Douala, was recently ranked as the most expensive city in Africa.

2. Kenya - 52.2%

Kenya is a country in Africa and its capital city is Nairobi. It is an agricultural country with tea, coffee, and flowers as its main exports. Kenyan citizens spend about 52.2% of their income on food. Most of the country's food menu consists of thick porridges based on corn (maize) and other grains, accompanied by lesser amounts of meat, dairy, and vegetables. Rice and some root crops are also featured in Kenyans'' daily sustenance. Food costs in Kenya are so high include increased taxes, poor crop yield, and a lack of food security.

1. Nigeria - 58.9%​

People living in Nigeria spend more money on food than any other country in the world. Food takes up an astonishing 58.9% of Nigerians' incomes. There are a few factors that are behind this high cost of living. Firstly, much of the food that is consumed in Nigeria is imported, which directly affects costs. The food that is imported also has a high cost of delivery due to poor infrastructure in the country. Rampant corruption in the country's manufacturing sectors is also sometimes blamed for high consumer costs.


Countries By Food Expenditure

RankCountryHousehold Income Spent on Food (%)
1Nigeria58.9
2Kenya52.2
3Cameroon45.5
4Kazakhstan42.8
5Philippines41.9
6Pakistan41.9
7Guatemala40.8
8Azerbaijan39.3
9Vietnam38.7
10Ukraine38.0

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