Worldwide meat consumption growing
World meat production and consumption are continuing to grow. Total meat production reached an estimated 258 million tons in 2004, two per cent higher than the previous year, according to the Worldwatch Institute’s report, Vital Signs 2005.
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) said the report shows that meat production has more than doubled since the 1970s, due to increased demand and the introduction of large-scale production processes. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates in their Food Outlook that world production will increase to 265 million tons in 2005.
World meat consumption, especially in the developing world, has also continued to rise. According to the FAO, the average person consumed 40.5kg of meat in 2004. This is projected to increase to 41.7kg in 2005.
MLA said that by 2020, the International Food Policy Research Institute estimates that people in developing countries will eat more than 36kg/person of meat on average – twice as much as in the 1980s. In contrast, people in industrial countries will consume the most meat – nearly 90kg/person by 2020.
According to the Worldwatch Institute, as production and consumption of meat continue to increase worldwide, the methods of production are also changing. Industrial animal agriculture is the most rapidly growing production system for pigs, chickens and cattle, with more than half of the world’s poultry and pork, and most beef, produced using these intensive methods.
The Institute noted that environmental and public health concerns about meat production and consumption are also growing and, consequently, farmers, business owners, chefs, and consumers are thinking differently about their food choices. For example, MLA stated that after McDonalds asked suppliers to discontinue antibiotic growth promoters in animal feed in 2003, consumers are also demanding more grass-fed meat, milk, and eggs for health reasons. – WLJ
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