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Global per capita meat consumption is set to see its ‘biggest decline in decades‘, according to data compiled by the UN.

A number of reasons have been cited for the drop in per capita consumption – which is set to fall three percent since last year – marking the biggest decline since at least 2000.

The decline is set to hit every major market, says the U.N’s Food and Agricultural Organization’s Food Outlook report, including the U.S, China, and Europe.

Pandemic affects meat consumption

Reports say the COVID-19 pandemic is a major factor in the decline, citing hospitality closures, people trying to save money on food bills, and production issues (with numerous slaughterhouses shutting down).

In addition, in China there is ‘growing distrust over animal products after the government suggested a link between imported protein and an outbreak in Beijing’, says Bloomberg.

Pig and chicken meat

The report says much of the contraction is ‘expected to reflect a sharp drop in global production of pig meat, largely concentrated in Asian countries affected by the African swine fever’, with beef also expected to drop especially in the U.S and Australia.

Poultry production is set ‘forecast to expand, albeit at half the rate recorded last year’, with ‘modest output growth also predicted for ovine meat’.

COVID-19

“The pace of expansion of all the meat sectors has been negatively affected by COVID-19 market disruptions, aggravating the effects of animal diseases,” says the report.

It adds: “The combination of COVID-19-related economic hardships, logistical bottlenecks and a steep decline in demand from the food services sector due to lockdowns has led to a global slump in import demand, causing international meat prices, measured by the FAO Meat Price Index, to fall, with the sharpest drop registered for ovine meat, followed by poultry, pig and bovine meats.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.