Food trends: meat consumption up, beef declines

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Beef consumption falls in Europe and the US as consumers turn to poultry
Beef consumption falls in Europe and the US as consumers turn to poultry

Related tags: Meat consumption, Meat, Us

Global meat consumption has recorded a year-on-year increase when compared to figures from 2014, according to data from London-based market intelligence firm Euromonitor International. 

Meat consumption going up is hardly a surprise; as the global population continues to expand, numerous analysts have predicted meat consumption will rise as it keeps pace with a more populous Planet Earth. However, beef and veal consumption, specifically, has declined in most of the parts of the developed, post-industrial world.

Beef and veal consumption by volume fell by 3% in the US last year, when compared to figures from 2014 Euromonitor data highlights. In 2014, the US consumed 8,003.40 tonnes (t) of beef and veal, this number fell to 7,753.80t last year.

Consumption of beef and veal receded on 2014 levels in Australasia, Europe and South America, but experienced growth in the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions.

Red meat health fears

On a global level, overall meat consumption grew by 2% in volume in 2015​,” said Anastasia Alieva, head of fresh food research at Euromonitor International. “Demand for meat has been driven by emerging markets, where increased prosperity and rising populations resulted in a growing consumption of relatively expensive meat. The MEA [Middle East and Africa] and Asia-Pacific performed most dynamically recording growth of 4% and 3% respectively and were the only two regions where beef and veal recorded growth.​”

Alieva said one of the reason beef and veal consumption had declined across Europe could be linked to consumer fears over the negative health effects associated with red meat consumption.

At the same time, in Western Europe, meat in general and beef and veal in particular continued to decline by 0.3% and 1% respectively amidst mounting health concerns linking red meat to cardiovascular disorders and colon cancer,​” added Alieva.

In the US, beef and veal contracted by a further 3%, while consumers switched to leaner types of meat – pork (8% growth) and poultry (5%). Because of the spread of flexitarian diets and substitution of red meat with leaner meats, fish and seafood and plant proteins, an average American reduced intake of beef and veal by nearly 4 kilograms between 2010 and 2015 and an average Western European by 1kg.​”

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