The peanut, popularly known as groundnut, can be classified as a grain legume or oil crop because of its high oil content. The nut is commonly grown in the tropics and sub-tropic regions and is important for both large and small commercial producer. The global peanut production has increased by an average 20% in the last 10 years. In 2017/2018, 45.3 million metric tons were produced, up from 43.1 million metric tons the previous season, translating to a 5% increase. The top peanut producers in the world include China, India, the US, Nigeria, and Senegal. This article focuses on the top peanut consumers in the world and their consumption pattern.
Top Peanut Consuming Countries
China is not only the leading producer of peanuts but also the top consuming country. In 2017/2018, it produced approximately 18.5 million metric tons of the nuts or 41% of the total world’s production and exported about 7%, consuming the rest. In 2016, the country consumed 17.3 million metric tons, translating to a consumption per capita of 12.11 kg against an estimated 13.45 kg. The highest consumption in five years was recorded during 2016, having recorded a relatively flat consumption pattern previously. To meet the high demand for peanuts, China 170,012 metric tons of shelled nuts in 2016.
India is the second-largest peanut consuming country after China. It is also the second-largest producer and the top exporter of the nuts. India has recorded a fluctuating consumption level over the five year period beginning in 2012. In 2016, the country consumed 5.6 million metric tons of groundnuts, up from 4.0 million metric tons the previous year. India relies on local production to meet the high demand and is not among the top importers of peanuts. In 2016, the country exported over 600,000 metric tons of the nuts or 29% of the total word’s export.
Nigeria accounts for approximately 7% of the world’s peanut production, same as the US. Most of the nuts produced in the country are consumed locally. Nigeria was the third largest groundnut consumer in 2016, having consumed approximately 3 million metric tons. The consumption level has generally been flat over the last four years with insignificant variation.
The US and Nigeria each account for 7% of the world’s peanut production. However, the US consumes slightly fewer peanuts compared to Nigeria. In 2016, 2.3 million metric tons of groundnut was consumed in the country down from 2.6 million metric tons the previous year. The US is one of the largest peanut exporters in the world, accounting for 18% of the world’s export in 2016. It exports mainly to the European Union and part of the Asian continent.
Importance of Peanuts
Peanuts are considered the 13th most important food crop in the world and the 4th most important source of edible oil. It is also an important source of vegetable protein. Although they are small in size, peanuts play vital and important nutritional role and have amazing health benefits. Groundnuts contain vitamin B3 that boosts memory and manganese which is vital in aiding blood sugar regulation.
Top Peanut (Groundnut) Consuming Countries