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Per capita rice consumption hits all-time low in 2015

All News 12:00 January 29, 2016

SEJONG, Jan. 29 (Yonhap) -- Per capita rice consumption in South Korea hit a record low in 2015 as people added other types of grain products to their diet, government data showed Friday.

The average annual consumption of rice per person fell to 62.9 kilograms last year, down 3.4 percent from the previous year's 65.1 kg, according to data by Statistics Korea.

This marked the lowest level since recordkeeping started in 1963, when consumption was 105.5 kg. Compared with 1970 when consumption hit a record high of 136.4 kg, rice intake has fallen by more than 53 percent.

Daily rice consumption per person also dropped to 172.4 grams last year from 178.2 g the year before, the data showed.

"The steady drop can be attributed to people reducing their rice intake and diversifying their diets with other alternative grains like wheat, barley, beans and corn," the statistics agency said.

Reflecting this, consumption of non-rice grain edged up to 8.8 kg in 2018 from 8.7 kg the year before, the statistical agency said.

It said consumption of grains other than rice made up 12.3 percent of the country's diet last year. This number has been rising since 2011, when it stood at 9.4 percent.

Compared with urban households, people who live in rural areas ate more rice, although even this figure declined. On average, a member of a farming household consumed 102.1 kg of rice last year, down 2.5 percent from 2014.

Rice used by food and beverage manufacturers, on the other hand, rose a sharp 7.6 percent on-year to 575,460 tons, mainly due to an increase in demand for grain-based alcoholic beverages and processed food, the latest annual data showed.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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