Global consumption of meat per capita this year is set to drop to the lowest in nearly ten years. The 3% drop from last year is the most significant decline since at least 2000, according to data from the United Nations.
The experts predict that per capita meat consumption will not return to levels from before the pandemic until at least after 2025.
The European Commission is expecting a decline of 2.5 per cent in meat consumption in Europe for 2020, which means it will reach 65.4kg per capita this year. Pork consumption in EU countries is expected to fall to a seven-year low in 2020.
Regarding meat production, the pigmeat production is set to rise by 0.5% this year(thanks to export to China), while output for beef will decrease by 1.7 per cent, poultry by 2 per cent and sheepmeat and goat meat will drop by 1.5 per cent. These numbers may still change, and there might be even fewer animals killed for meat in the last quarter of the year.
Pigmeat production might eventually also fall due to the risk of African swine fever.
In China, pork consumption may drop by about 35% compared with pre-pandemic data, according to Bric Agriculture Group, a Beijing-based consulting firm. China accounts for 40% of global pork demand.
Different factors are contributing to the change.
Many of the slaughterhouses and meat production facilities around the world have been closed due to the spread of Covid-19 cases among workers which caused major problems in the supply chain.
Shoppers are also buying less meat due to the risk of zoonotic diseases transmission. People around the world are cutting down on their grocery bills due to the economic crisis.
Closing of the restaurants hurt the demand since people used to eat more meat when they dine out. Before the pandemic, 50 per cent of all meat was consumed in the restaurants and bars in the US, according to Boston Consulting Group.
Consumers are also more concerned about health and the environment and simply reduce their meat consumption knowing that animal farming and meat and dairy production accounts for health issues and more global greenhouse gas emissions than transport.
Millions of people around the world prefer to buy plant-based products. A plant-based diet is becoming the new normal, especially in Western countries.
“A balanced diet does not include meat and sausages every day,” German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner said in a statement. “The number of those who occasionally consciously do without it has increased.”