Pasta: The world's favourite food

Posted by Al Kinley Digital Influencer

15th Jun 2011

Pasta has been named the world's favourite food, narrowly beating meat or rice dishes and pizza, in a new global survey by Oxfam into the way the world eats today.

Pasta has been named the world's favourite food, narrowly beating meat or rice dishes and pizza, in a new global survey by Oxfam into the way the world eats today.

The results of the independent poll across 17 countries show the spread of Western diets across the world. Although national dishes are still popular - such as paella in Spain, schnitzel in Germany and biryani in India - pizza and pasta are now the favourite foods of many, with more than half of the countries (nine out of 17) listing one or both in their top three foods.

The research was carried out for Oxfam's new GROW campaign, which is calling on governments and big businesses to fix the global food system to ensure that everyone has enough to eat. It showed that food prices are a common worry and that people's diets are actually changing, with many not eating the same foods as they did just two years ago.

In the UK, popular curry dishes only made it to number four as Brits named steak their favourite food, followed by pasta and chicken. The USA opted for pizza while Australians were the only country with a sweet tooth, choosing chocolate as their favourite food (which ranked 15th globally).

Despite the popularity of a Western diet, fast food wasn't the first choice for many people worldwide, with KFC only making it into 107th place just ahead of McDonald's at 113.

The top ten in full:



  1. Pasta 

  2. Meat 

  3. Rice 

  4. Pizza 

  5. Chicken 

  6. Fish and seafood 

  7. Vegetables 

  8. Chinese 

  9. Italian 

  10. Mexican



From developing countries to the UK and the USA, the research shows that the cost of food is a worldwide worry. Two thirds of people (66%) say it is their main concern about what they and their families eat. In fact more than half of the people questioned globally (55%) said they are not eating the same food as they did two years ago, with two fifths (39%) of those saying it was because food was becoming more expensive. In the UK those most concerned about the cost of food rose to nearly eight out of ten people (78%).

Health and nutrition was the second biggest worry worldwide, with 43 per cent of people listing it as one of their main concerns. In the UK more than half of those questioned (53%) worry about how healthy or nutritious their food is.

Phil Bloomer, Oxfam's campaigns director, said: "The world's attitudes to food are shifting, in the face of rising prices. More and more of us, from the UK to the least developed countries, are changing the way we eat and it's vital that we change the way we think about our food too.

"The global system which is supposed to feed us all is broken, leaving one in seven people to go hungry every day and many more worried by rising prices. From pizza or pasta to Kenyan ugali, food is one of our greatest pleasures and one of our most basic human rights. We need to do something quickly to fix things and make sure that everyone has enough to eat, always."

Conducted by international research consultancy GlobeScan, the survey of over 16,000 people was carried out in Australia, Brazil, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, the UK and the USA.

High profile supporters of Oxfam's Grow campaign which launched this month include actors Scarlett Johansson and Kristin Davis, photographer Rankin, supermodel Helena Christensen, TV presenter Zoe Ball and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Oxfam's GROW campaign

Blog post written by Al Kinley

Digital Influencer

More by Al Kinley