Although Japan and South Korea share many similarities culture-wise, they sometimes have very different tastes when it comes to food. In 2022, South Koreans managed an average intake of 30.5kg of sugar per person – only slight less than in the United States, where people consumed 30.8kg of sugar on average. In contrast, Japan’s consumption was only about half of that, averaging 15.5kg per individual. In line with a worldwide trend, sugar intake in both countries is on the decline, however.
The underlying reasons for this variation could be rooted in culinary traditions. Japanese cuisine, known for its subtlety, often incorporates less sugar. Conversely, South Korea’s culinary landscape features several dishes and beverages, such as “sikhye” and “sujeonggwa,” which are characteristically sweet. This could at least partially explain the divergence.