2015 Meat, Poultry Consumption Seen Higher

Total US red meat and poultry consumption is expected to rise this year as supplies of chicken and pork expand.  Beef production is expected to decline as producers rebuild their herds following years of decline.

The USDA expects 2015 beef production to be down 447.5 million pounds, or 1.82%, to 24.074 billion pounds from 24,521.5 billion in 2014.  Pork production is expected to increase 554.7 million pounds, or 2.42%, to 23.459 billion pounds from 22.904.3 billion last year.  And if current predictions are accurate, 2016 pork production will exceed beef for the first time since records began in 1991.

Chicken production this year is expected to rise 1.538 billion pounds, or 3.99%, to 40.113 billion pounds from 38.575 pounds.

Lamb and veal production is expected to decline 9.1 million pounds, or 3.39%, to 259.6 million from 268.7 million last year.  Many dairy calves that in other years would be fed and slaughtered as veal now are finding their way to the feedlots to fill a void left by tight supplies of beef type cattle.

Turkey production is expected to reverse a three-year decline this year, boosting production 4.17% to 5.893 billion pounds from 5.657 billion last year.




Annual per capita beef consumption, however, was expected to be down only 0.35 pound, or 0.64%, to 54.23 pounds from 54.58 pounds in 2014.  The difference was expected to be covered by increased imports, made possible by a rising US dollar and necessitated by continued demand for beef even though retail prices are record high.

But there is a difference between demand and consumption.  Demand is difficult to measure, but consumption can be gauged precisely.  For this reason, consumption is often spoken of as demand.  Many consumers may want to eat more beef, but a widening gap between beef and pork or poultry production and prices likely will lead to more switching to pork and chicken from beef in 2015.

Total per capita red meat and poultry consumption is expected to rise this year after being down last year.  USDA data show a 2014 decline in meat consumption to 22.146 pounds from 22.154 pounds, or 0.04%.  But total red meat and poultry consumption is expected to rise 0.17% this year to 22.184 pounds, and further gains are expected next year.




As the US economy continues to dig itself out of the Great Recession, more consumers are finding work and incomes as a whole are rising, even if individual incomes are growing at a snail’s pace.

Through 2013, per capita expenditures for meat and poultry have gone up every year since 2009, and there is every reason to believe total expenditures went up last year as well.

Beef was the leader to higher ground, and per capita annual expenditures were nearly up to $300 in 2013.  However, pork and poultry also showed increased spending.

However, USDA figures through 2013 show less of a bump in meat expenditures when viewed as a percent of disposable income.  These figures show pork and chicken expenditures flattening in 2006 as beef continued to decline before finding support in 2010.  A small increase was seen from the 2010 bottom through 2013, and more could be expected in 2014 as wages and employment rise.