Korea’s per-capita annual consumption of rice declined to a record low last year as a growing number of people chose other food alternatives for their daily meals, a report showed Thursday.
Rice consumption per person in the household sector here came to 72.8 kilograms last year, down from 74 kilograms the previous year, according to Statistics Korea. The figure was the lowest since related data started to be compiled in 1963.
The decline is attributed to diversified choices for daily meals including bread, instant noodles and cereals. Diet and health issues were also cited as reasons to reduce rice consumption.
Compared with a decade ago, consumption dropped 20.8 kilograms, the report showed.
Rice remained the main staple for most South Korans but its ratio in their daily diet inched down.
The report showed that the average Korean consumed 71.3 kilograms of rice last year for daily meals, which accounted for 97.9 percent of total annual consumption, down from 98.2 percent a year earlier.
Rice used for rice cakes, snacks and other food products, however, inched up from 1.2 kilograms to 1.4 kilograms. Its ratio also rose from 1.6 percent to 1.9 percent over the same period, the report showed.
Koreans’ rice consumption remained high compared with other Asian countries but the gap has been narrowing, indicating that Koreans’ diets and menus have diversified over the past decade, according to the report.
Last year, a Korean consumed 14.3 kilograms more rice than a Japanese and 24.7 kilograms more than a Taiwanese. The figures were down from gaps of 29 kilograms and 40.9 kilograms, respectively, in 2000, the report showed.