July 20, 2012

Dietary trends - animated bubble chart (animal and vegetable food supply 1961-2007)

Dietary trends

I was just working with dietary statistics from FAOSTAT - time series from 1961-2007 on daily food supply of animal and vegetal products, and the differences between parts of the World, as well as development trends. The data is very interesting, both in time series but even more so in what the daily diet looks like between countries. FAOSTATS is the statistics database by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN.

A thought was that this data would be interesting to plot in an animated bubble chart - like the ones pioneered by Gapminder (later Google) and Hans Rosling.

I found out that it was apparently very easy to prepare this - following these instructions. The data goes into a Google Docs spreadsheet (with some mild formatting) and then one adds the motion chart gadget.

Some interesting things you can see here:

  • Follow the trend in the time series for China and Brazil, and see how they increase their ratio of animal food.
  • You can also compare the differences between e.g. Europe and the US and countries in Asia, like Thailand and Indonesia, and see that they eat vegetable products to a much higher degree

What you can't see here - this chart is not very good to see the total energy intake per person per day - a stacked bar chart would be better for that (vegetable + animal on top of each other).

The country groupings are the subregions used by the UN Environment Programme for the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) assessments. The units are kcal/capita/day.

Update: I just learned that the motion chart gadget doesn't work in all browsers - a friend with a Mac was unable to view the chart. The full sheet (with embedded chart) is at: google docs - maybe that works better... ?