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Global Meat Consumption, Pound Per Pound

In 2011, did the consumption of meat worldwide increase a lot, increase a little, or did it decrease?

May 4, 2013

In 2011, did the consumption of meat worldwide increase a lot, increase a little, or did it decrease?

As living standards rise throughout much of the developing world, the consumption of meat is certain to rise significantly.

But in a world of drought and high livestock feed prices, we wonder: How did meat consumption worldwide change in 2011? Did it:

[toggle title_open=”A. Increase by 15% is not correct.” title_closed=”A. Increase by 15%”]

On a per capita basis, global meat consumption has increased by 15% overall since 1995, according to new research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute. In developing countries, meat consumption has increased by 25% over the same period. In contrast, consumption in industrialized countries has increased by just 2%.

While the difference between meat consumption in developing and industrialized countries is thus shrinking, the gap is still large. The average person in a developing country ate 32.3 kg (71.2 lbs.) of meat in 2011, or just about 40% of the 78.9 kg (173.9 lbs.) consumed by the average person in an industrialized country.[/toggle]

[toggle title_open=”B. Increase slightly is not correct.” title_closed=”B. Increase slightly”]

It is global meat production that increased slightly, rising 0.8% from 2010 to reach 297 million tons in 2011. It was projected to rise another 1.7% to reach 302 million tons by the end of 2012. Since 2001, meat production has increased by 20%.

Record drought in the U.S. Midwest, animal disease outbreaks and rising prices of livestock feed all contributed to the smaller increases in production in 2011 and 2012. Elsewhere, meat production was hampered by widespread and intense droughts in China, Russia and the Horn of Africa.

On a worldwide basis, pork was the most popular meat in 2011, accounting for 37% of both meat production and consumption, at 109 million tons. This was followed closely by poultry meat, with 101 million tons produced.

Given that pork production is decreasing and poultry meat production is rising, it is likely that poultry will become the most-produced meat during the next few years.

If one looks at meat production by geographic region, there has been a significant shift of production from industrialized to developing. Over the last decade, meat production grew nearly 26% in Asia, 28% in Africa and 32% in South America.[/toggle]

[toggle title_open=”C. Decrease slightly is correct.” title_closed=”C. Decrease slightly”]

In contrast to a decades-long trend, meat consumption decreased slightly worldwide in 2011, from 42.5 kg (93.7 lbs.) per person in 2010 to 42.3 kg (93.3 lbs.), a decrease of less than half a percent.

As a result of continuing drought and corn crop failures, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the price of beef in the United States will be up to 5% higher in 2013 than in 2010, pork up to 3.5% higher and poultry up to 4% higher.

Meat prices are likewise on a continuing upward trend throughout the world, as a consequence of negative climate conditions, as well as sharply increasing demand from developing countries.

A further factor curtailing global meat consumption in 2011 were outbreaks of new and recurring zoonotic diseases transmitted between animals and humans. In 2011 alone, foot-and-mouth disease was detected in Paraguay, African swine fever in Russia, classical swine fever in Mexico and avian influenza (H5N1) throughout Asia.

According to a 2012 report by the International Livestock Research Institute, zoonoses cause around 2.7 million human deaths each year. Many of these disease outbreaks can be traced to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), also known as factory farms.[/toggle]

Editor’s note: To listen to The Globalist’s Stephan Richter discuss this quiz on the Marketplace Morning Report, click here to open a pop-up media player.



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