A staple food is one that is consumed on a regular basis and in sufficient amounts to form the majority of one’s diet and provide a significant amount of one’s energy and nutrition requirements. A single staple meal is insufficient to supply a population’s complete nutritional demands; a diverse diet is necessary. This is especially true for children and other populations that are nutritionally fragile.
Staple foods are often well suited to the growing conditions in their origin locations. They may be resistant to drought, pests, or low-nutrient soils, for example. Staple crops are frequently used by farmers to decrease risk and improve the resilience of their agricultural systems.
Rice, wheat, maize (corn), millet, sorghum, roots and tubers (potatoes, cassava, yams, and taro), and animal products (meat, milk, eggs, cheese, and fish) make up the majority of people’s diets.
Only a few hundred edible plant species contribute considerably to global food supplies out of more than 50 000 edible plant species worldwide. Only 15 crop plants account for 90% of global food energy consumption, with rice, maize, and wheat accounting for two-thirds of that. Over 4 billion people rely on these three foods every day.
Roots and tubers are essential foods for approximately 1 billion people in underdeveloped countries. They provide nearly 40% of the food consumed by half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population. Carbohydrates, calcium, and vitamin C are abundant, while protein is scarce.
Since the beginning of the 1970s, per capita consumption of roots and tubers has decreased in many nations, owing to urban populations’ cheaper and easier access to imported grains. Root and tuber consumption has decreased by 8% in the Pacific Islands since 1970, whereas grain consumption has increased by 40%, from 61 to 85 kg per person.