The report, published by WorldWatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project for its Vital Signs Online service, revealed that meat production rose just 0.8% year-on-year in 2011 to 297 million tonnes (mt), compared to a 2.6% increase in 2010.
Report authors Danielle Nierenberg and Laura Reynolds put the slowdown in worldwide production to widespread drought in China, Russia, the US and the Horn of Africa, as well as animal disease outbreaks and rising feed prices. They projected that modest growth would continue in 2012, with total global meat production expected to reach 302mt by the end of the year.
The report also revealed that there had been a “dramatic shift” in meat production from industrialised to developing countries, with production growing by nearly 26% in Asia, 28% in Africa, and 32% in South America over the last decade. In 2011, North America beef production fell by 200,000t, with South America and Asia taking over as the world’s biggest beef producers, producing 15mt and 17mt respectively.
The fall in meat production was mirrored by fall in consumption last year, said the report, with worldwide meat consumption falling from 42.5 kilograms (kg) per person in 2010 to 42.3kg in 2011. The report’s authors put this drop down to high meat prices and outbreaks of animal disease such as African Swine Fever in Russia and avian influenza (H5N1) in Asia.
However, it pointed out that per capita consumption had been increasing for a decade, rising by 15% overall since 1995, with a 25% increase in developing countries and a 2% increase in industrialised countries.
Pork remains the most popular meat globally, accounting for 37% of meat production and consumption in 2011. However, pork production decreased by 0.8% last year, while poultry increased by 3%, leaving it likely that poultry will become the leading meat in the near future.