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The World's Most Important Staple Crops

What are the world's most important staple foods in terms of worldwide caloric consumption?
Source: FAO via World Atlas
% of global caloric intake derived from crop
Quiz by islabonita
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Last updated: March 12, 2020
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First submittedFebruary 20, 2020
Times taken17,825
Average score50.0%
Rating4.30
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%
Staple Food
19.5%
Maize
16.5%
Rice
15.0%
Wheat
2.6%
Cassava
2.1%
Soybean
%
Staple Food
1.7%
Potato
1.2%
Sorghum
0.6%
Sweet Potato
0.4%
Yam
0.3%
Plantain
38 Comments
+2
Level 82
Mar 12, 2020
I love eating all of these.
+6
Level 77
Mar 12, 2020
I always want to enter barley as beer is pretty popular too.
+4
Level 70
Mar 12, 2020
I tried barley and hop (and malt) beer is staple food for some, haha
+2
Level 74
Apr 4, 2020
In the past barley was used as commonly as wheat in many places... used to make bread and porridge and such. It seems to have fallen out of use in that sense, but that didn't stop me from trying it several times!
+1
Level 77
Nov 18, 2023
In the Alps it is still quite common! Barley soup is a super common dish in Switzerland, southern Bavaria, and western Austria and on the Italian side they even make it into a sort of risotto, but with whole barley grains instead of rice. Some bakeries also still put it in bread!
+8
Level 70
Mar 12, 2020
Either it is an English terminology thing or there is definitively sugar cane missing in this list. Presumably on the 4th spot?! (In 2018, roughly twice as much sugar cane was produced when compared to corn. There is a long way from sugar cane to calorie uptake, but still...)
+4
Level 70
Mar 12, 2020
I guess it is about staple food, no nutrients in sugar and people dont use it on their own (eventhough it might be a significant part of their diet)
+4
Level 76
Mar 13, 2020
No nutrients in sugar? Sugar is pure nutrients.
+16
Level 85
Mar 19, 2020
If there were no nutrients in sugar, how do you explain my survival on a diet of Cocoa Puffs & Mountain De......~keels over and dies~
+2
Level 71
Oct 24, 2022
The quiz was about calories, and sugar is nearly 100% carbohydrates. I was also wondering about sugarcane and beetroot, and olives, rapeseed, sunflowers and oil palms. And coconut.
+1
Level 37
Apr 29, 2020
A lot of sugar cane is used for biofuel production in countries like Brazil. Although I can say the same about corn in the US (which is less efficient).
+1
Level 84
Mar 13, 2020
Nice quiz... although I caught me off-guard when one word yielded two answers (I thought I accidentally hit the "Give Up" button).

Only one correction: in the caveats, it says "vis" instead of "via".

+1
Level 73
Mar 13, 2020
Looks familiar to a 2016 quiz. https://www.jetpunk.com/user-quizzes/170770/top-10-most-important-crops-in-the-world
+4
Level 61
Mar 13, 2020
Cassava has lots of synonyms that should be added: yuca, manioc, mandioca, etc.
+3
Level ∞
Mar 14, 2020
Yuca and manioc will work now
+2
Level 67
Apr 3, 2020
Rice and wheat I get, but how can maize be that big? Who use maize as such a big part of their diet? It sound like someone must be eating a lot of corn bread somewhere..
+7
Level 69
Apr 3, 2020
Maize is a main stable in Mexico, Central America, and the Andean countries.
+15
Level 65
Apr 3, 2020
Corn syrup is in everything in the USA
+3
Level 65
Apr 3, 2020
Cows
+2
Level 48
Apr 4, 2020
That is what I was thinking. Wheat is is everything, what is corn in? Bugger all!
+4
Level 55
Apr 4, 2020
Corn is used in lots of stuff. Corn Chips, Corn Bread, Corn Muffins, Popcorn, etc. even corn on it's own is really popular too. Plus corn flour is used in many things you probably weren't even aware of. Cheese puffs (cheese doodles or cheetos, whatever you call them) are actually puffed corn with cheese flavoring. In many East African countries, corn meal is the staple food - look up ugali if you wanna learn more about it. In the U.S., and probably many other western nations, corn is often used in gluten-free substitutes as well. Not to mention corn syrup.
+3
Level 83
Dec 19, 2021
The first things you listed are incredibly American
+4
Level 49
Apr 5, 2020
It's eaten a decent amount in western society, though less than wheat, but corn is a major staple in Latin America and in Africa. I wasn't surprised to see it on top of the list.
+3
Level 77
Apr 29, 2023
Those are valid points but the Americas and Africa barely add up to 2.5 billion people (and many in Africa eat mostly sorghum, millet, cassava, and yams), whereas Asia and Europe add up to 5 billion, essentially all rice and wheat eaters.
+3
Level 71
Jan 12, 2021
corn is HUGE (at least in american food, which is what ive researched). omnivore's dilemma by michael pollan gives a lot of insight into the way that corn has taken over american agriculture and is overall my favorite book ever, so give it a read if you find the time!
+1
Level 80
Aug 14, 2021
It's in a TON of foods and used for corn oil, in the Americas anyways. I eat corn on the cob at least once a week, corn chips, tortilla shells, popcorn at the movies lol. Where are you from that corn is not common? I guess it never really occurred to me that corn wasn't super common in other parts of the world, but I guess it makes sense!
+5
Level 58
Apr 3, 2020
No sugar or coffee?
+4
Level 72
Apr 3, 2020
Could you accept great millet for sorghum? I believe it's a very widely used name for the same thing. I know I tried "millet," "great millet," "durra," "jowari," and a few other things, but not "sorghum."
+1
Level 37
Apr 3, 2020
Interesting that plantain made the cut but banana didn't.
+1
Level 74
Apr 4, 2020
If you type banana it reveals plantain. Perhaps theyre grouped together?
+1
Level 38
May 2, 2022
Where's tofu?
+1
Level 69
Sep 3, 2022
not on here, because it's not one of the most important staple crop
+3
Level 81
May 2, 2023
Actually I believe it is one here. Tofu is soy if I’m not mistaking.
+2
Level 59
Mar 3, 2023
didn't get sorghum because I only knew the French name which is sorgho
+2
Level 77
Apr 29, 2023
Does this include calories we get from corn via cows fed with it? Otherwise I would be very confused as to how it could be ahead of wheat and rice.
+1
Level 83
Mar 10, 2024
America
+1
Level 32
May 21, 2024
I'm such a fool, we call sweet potato kumura in my country, and I typed that instead and so I missed that one.
+1
Level 59
Jul 12, 2024
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