Data

Daily supply of calories per person

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What you should know about this indicator

  • This data shows per capita daily calorie supply, which is the amount of calories available to an average person, and does necessarily correspond to the calories actually consumed by that person.
  • Calorie supply is always larger than actual calorie consumption, since there may be waste at the household level.
  • For historical data, daily calorie supply and consumption are sometimes used interchangeably, due to poor data availability.
  • This data does not give a complete picture of nutrition - for a healthy diet we need much more than just energy. But as the most basic criteria of food security, getting enough calories is an important measure. It is used as input for the most important metrics used to assess global malnutrition: undernourishment.
Source
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2023); Harris et al. (2015); Floud et al. (2011); Jonsson (1998); Grigg (1995); Fogel (2004); Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2000); Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (1949); USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) (2015) – with major processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
May 23, 2024
Next expected update
May 2025
Date range
1274–2021
Unit
kilocalories per day

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

Food Balance Sheet presents a comprehensive picture of the pattern of a country's food supply during a specified reference period.

The food balance sheet shows for each food item - i.e. each primary commodity and a number of processed commodities potentially available for human consumption - the sources of supply and its utilization. The total quantity of foodstuffs produced in a country added to the total quantity imported and adjusted to any change in stocks that may have occurred since the beginning of the reference period gives the supply available during that period.

On the utilization side a distinction is made between the quantities exported, fed to livestock, used for seed, put to manufacture for food use and non-food uses, losses during storage and transportation, and food supplies available for human consumption. The per caput supply of each such food item available for human consumption is then obtained by dividing the respective quantity by the related data on the population actually partaking of it. Data on per caput food supplies are expressed in terms of quantity and - by applying appropriate food composition factors for all primary and processed products - also in terms of caloric value and protein and fat content.

Retrieved on
March 14, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - Food Balances: Food Balances (-2013, old methodology and population) (2023).

Food Balance Sheet presents a comprehensive picture of the pattern of a country's food supply during a specified reference period.

The food balance sheet shows for each food item - i.e. each primary commodity and a number of processed commodities potentially available for human consumption - the sources of supply and its utilization. The total quantity of foodstuffs produced in a country added to the total quantity imported and adjusted to any change in stocks that may have occurred since the beginning of the reference period gives the supply available during that period.

On the utilization side a distinction is made between the quantities exported, fed to livestock, used for seed, put to manufacture for food use and non-food uses, losses during storage and transportation, and food supplies available for human consumption. The per caput supply of each such food item available for human consumption is then obtained by dividing the respective quantity by the related data on the population actually partaking of it. Data on per caput food supplies are expressed in terms of quantity and - by applying appropriate food composition factors for all primary and processed products - also in terms of caloric value and protein and fat content.

Retrieved on
March 14, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - Food Balances: Food Balances (2010-) (2023).

This dataset contains the table in the appendix of Harris et al. (2015) paper: "How Many Calories? Food Availability in England and Wales in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries". That table contains a compilation of daily calorie (supply or consumption) in England and Wales, according to various different studies.

Retrieved on
May 23, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Harris, B., Floud, R. and Hong, S.C. (2015), "How Many Calories? Food Availability in England and Wales in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries", Research in Economic History (Research in Economic History, Vol. 31), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 111-191. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0363-326820150000031003
Data extracted from the Appendix.

This dataset contains the estimates on the daily caloric intake in the United States (Table 6.6) and Western Europe (Table 5.5) of "The Changing Body", by Floud et al. (2011).

Retrieved on
May 27, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Floud, R., Fogel, R. W., Harris, B. and Hong, S. C. (2011), "The Changing Body," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521879750.
Data extracted from Tables 5.5 and 6.6.

This dataset contains daily energy from Table 5 of Jonsson (1998) paper: "Changes in food consumption in Iceland, 1770-1940".

Retrieved on
May 27, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Jonsson, G.R. (1998), "Changes in food consumption in Iceland, 1770-1940". Scandinavian Economic History Review, 46, 24-41.
Data extracted from Table 5.

This dataset contains daily calories available per capita from Table 1 of Grigg (1995) paper: "The nutritional transition in Western Europe".

Retrieved on
May 27, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Grigg, D. (1995), "The nutritional transition in Western Europe". Journal of Historical Geography, Volume 21, Issue 3, 1995, Pages 247-261. https://doi.org/10.1006/jhge.1995.0018
Data extracted from Table 1.

This dataset contains daily calorie supply from Table 1.2 of Fogel (2004) book: "The Escape from hunger and Premature Death".

Retrieved on
May 27, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Fogel, R.W. (2004), "The Escape from hunger and Premature Death". Cambridge Studies in Population, Economy and Society in Past Time, Series Number 38.
Data extracted from Table 1.2.

This dataset contains daily calories in various countries, from Table 11 of FAO's "The State of Food and Agriculture 2000".

Retrieved on
May 27, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2000), "The State of Food and Agriculture 2000".
Data extracted from Table 11.

This dataset contains daily calories in various countries, from Table 15 of FAO's "The State of Food and Agriculture 1949".

Retrieved on
May 27, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (1949), "The State of Food and Agriculture 1949".
Data extracted from Table 15.
Retrieved on
May 27, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA/ERS) - U.S. food supply:  Nutrients and other food components, per capita per day.
The data can be found as one of the archived tables of the Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System.

How we process data at Our World in Data

All data and visualizations on Our World in Data rely on data sourced from one or several original data providers. Preparing this original data involves several processing steps. Depending on the data, this can include standardizing country names and world region definitions, converting units, calculating derived indicators such as per capita measures, as well as adding or adapting metadata such as the name or the description given to an indicator.

At the link below you can find a detailed description of the structure of our data pipeline, including links to all the code used to prepare data across Our World in Data.

Read about our data pipeline
Notes on our processing step for this indicator
  • For all countries, the data after 1960 is taken from FAOSTAT Food Balances datasets (old and new methodologies combined).
  • For the UK: We load Appendix Table from Harris et al. (2015). From that table, we select values from Broadberry et al. (2015) and the corrected values from Floud et al (2011) (taking the average value of Estimates (A) and (B)).
  • For the US: For years 1800-1900, we use Table 6.6 of Floud et al. (2011). For years 1900-1960, we use the archived table of food supply from USDA.
  • For Iceland: We use Table 5 of Jonsson (1994).
  • For Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway: We use Table 1 from Grigg (1995), which is a compilation of many sources.
  • For France: We use Table 1 from Grigg (1995).
    • We include the two additional data points (1705 and 1785) from Fogel (2004).
  • For Belgium and Netherlands: We use Table 5.5 of Floud et al. (2011).
  • For Uganda, Cambodia, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru for 1936 and 1947: We use Table 11 of FAO (2000) (The State of Food and Agriculture).
  • For many countries (including some of the above) for 1947 and 1948: We use values from Table 15 from FAO (1949).
  • Note that prior to 1961, data for the UK may correspond to England, or England and Wales; and Tanzania refers to Tanganyika.

Reuse this work

  • All data produced by third-party providers and made available by Our World in Data are subject to the license terms from the original providers. Our work would not be possible without the data providers we rely on, so we ask you to always cite them appropriately (see below). This is crucial to allow data providers to continue doing their work, enhancing, maintaining and updating valuable data.
  • All data, visualizations, and code produced by Our World in Data are completely open access under the Creative Commons BY license. You have the permission to use, distribute, and reproduce these in any medium, provided the source and authors are credited.

Citations

How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Daily supply of calories per person”, part of the following publication: Max Roser, Hannah Ritchie and Pablo Rosado (2013) - “Food Supply”. Data adapted from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Harris et al., Floud et al., Jonsson, Grigg, Fogel, USDA Economic Research Service (ERS). Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/daily-per-capita-caloric-supply [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2023) and other sources – with major processing by Our World in Data

Full citation

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2023); Harris et al. (2015); Floud et al. (2011); Jonsson (1998); Grigg (1995); Fogel (2004); Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2000); Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (1949); USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) (2015) – with major processing by Our World in Data. “Daily supply of calories per person” [dataset]. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Food Balances: Food Balances (-2013, old methodology and population)”; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Food Balances: Food Balances (2010-)”; Harris et al., “How Many Calories? Food Availability in England and Wales in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”; Floud et al., “The Changing Body”; Jonsson, “Changes in food consumption in Iceland, 1770-1940”; Grigg, “The nutritional transition in Western Europe”; Fogel, “The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death”; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “The State of Food and Agriculture 2000”; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “The State of Food and Agriculture 1949”; USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), “U.S. food supply:  Nutrients and other food components, per capita per day” [original data]. Retrieved July 25, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/daily-per-capita-caloric-supply