What the World Eats

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WHAT THE WORLD EATS is an interactive data visualization that utilizes worldwide food consumption data to show how cultural identities and food identities are closely related.

Role: Visual design and Interaction flow

Brief: Dive in the process of conceiving and crafting, visual, aural and temporal representations of data that communicates info in a way that is useful and desirable

4 weeks group project



Among given topics of Max-neef’s human needs, we chose the topic of ‘identity’. Identity is defined as the need that includes sense of belonging, self-esteem, consistency which is expressed by nationality, ethnicity, language, religion and so on. 

Dietary practice is the new type of identity. Food, like language, exists as a vehicle for expressing culture. It has the power of being both a biological necessity as well as a deeply symbolic cultural artifact. Thus, we found it agreeable to say that food is a mechanism for expressing an identity that also has a social purpose.






We found a useful dataset that represents the daily food consumption of 22 different countries and its raw dataset from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Through our reference dataset, we could get six various types of food consumption data from 196 countries for the past 50 years. Two units—calories and amount—are provided. Our team chose 15 countries within six main continents to show how each country eat differently by food type.


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Data Reference-




Overall, we got inspired by the fact that If we look at someone’s kitchen, various sauce, spice and ingredients on the shelf itself tells the stories of that person. To visualize six different types of food, we brainstormed around food containers and picked a mason jar as the main actor to express the organic characteristic of the food. It’s used to contain food from raw to cook and resonates well with the abstract form of ingredients. We also display the food types of each country according to their geographic location in the abstract form of the world map.