SEJONG, Jan. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — Per capita rice consumption in South Korea hit a fresh record low last year amid rapid changes in eating habits, government data showed Thursday.
The average annual consumption of rice per person fell to 61.8 kilograms last year, down 0.2 percent from the previous year’s 61.9 kg, according to the data by Statistics Korea.
Rice is a key staple food for Koreans, but its consumption has been on a steady decline since the early 1980s, when it posted around 130 kg. Compared with 1970, when consumption hit a record high of 136.4 kg, rice intake has more than halved in 2017.
Daily rice consumption per person also dropped to 169.3 grams last year from the 169.6 grams tallied in the previous year, the data showed.
Consumption of non-rice grains edged down 2.2 percent on-year to 9.1 kg in 2017 from 9.3 kg a year ago, accounting for 12.8 percent of the country’s total grain consumption, the statistical agency said.
A growing number of South Korean people have been reducing their rice intake and diversifying their diets with other alternative grains like wheat, barley, beans and corn.
Rice used by food and beverage manufacturers, on the other hand, jumped 7.4 percent on-year to 707,703 tons, mainly due to an increase in demand for grain-based alcoholic beverages and processed food, the data showed.