Meat Production and Consumption Continue to Grow

Jesse Chang | Oct 11, 2011


Global meat production increased by 2.6 percent in 2010 to 290.6 million tons, an increase from the 0.8 percent growth rate of 2009.1 (See Figure 1.) Even with this minimal increase, however, worldwide meat production has tripled since the 1970s.2 The increase continued the steady growth of the past decade. Since 2000, global meat production has risen by 20 percent.3

Vital Signs Trend Figure 1

Meat consumption is also growing worldwide. Per capita meat consumption has increased from 41.3 to 41.9 kilograms.4Consumption varies greatly between countries, however. In the developing world, individuals eat about 32 kilograms of meat a year.5 But consumers in the industrial world eat about 80 kilograms per person each year.6 (See Figure 2.)

Pork is the most widely produced meat in the world, followed by poultry, beef, and sheep.7 (See Figure 3 and Table 1.) Total pig meat production increased by about 3 percent in 2010, to 109 million tons.8 China, which holds nearly half of the world’s pig market, has been affected by an elimination of sow subsidies—the government funds paid farmers to increase hog production—as well as by outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and swine blue ear disease.9 Reduced supplies in Asia are expected to translate into record exports by the United States to feed rising demand in traditional Asian markets such as South Korea, China, and Japan.10


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