US Meat Consumption Expected To Rise

Total red meat and poultry consumption in the US is expected to rise again this year and next with the largest gains coming in beef and chicken, according to USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service data.

The Livestock Marketing Information Center compiled the statistics, which show that total per-capita red meat and poultry consumption this year is forecast at 214.89 pounds.  This would be up 2.17 pounds, or 1.02%, from last year’s 212.72 pounds, and up 5.25 pounds, or 2.50%, from 209.64 pounds in 2015.

For 2018, per-capita US red meat and poultry consumption was expected to rise to 216.04 pounds, a gain of 1.15 pounds, or 0.54%, from this year’s 214.89-pound estimate.

The 2018 estimate, however, falls short of the record of 219.27 pounds set in 2002.




Per-capita beef consumption this year was forecast to rise to 56.16 pounds, up 0.63 pound, or 1.13%, from 55.53 pounds in 2016 and up 2.11 pounds, or 3.90%, from 54.05 pounds in 2015.

2015 saw the lowest annual beef consumption since at least 1993, the earliest year in which records were shown by the LMIC.  The next lowest year was in 2014 when consumption totaled 54.22 pounds per person.

The highest annual per-capita beef consumption was in 2002 when US consumers chowed down on 67.767 pounds of beef.  Consumption in 2000 was similar at 67.765 pounds.

Trade sources said per-capita US beef consumption may take many years to reach those highs, if they ever do.  Prices have risen sharply since then as herd sizes and herd numbers have declined.

It would take a return to an over-produced market to take prices low enough to encourage that much beef consumption, and cattle producers are keeping a closer watch on total numbers and are less willing to accept the market risk it took to get the herd numbers that high again, trade sources said.




Per-capita chicken consumption was expected to hit 91.41 pounds this year, up 0.63 pound, or 0.69%, from 90.78 pounds last year.  In 2018, consumption was estimated at 91.67 pounds, up 0.26 pound, or 0.28%, from the 2017 estimate.

The 2018 annual consumption estimate also would be up 0.89 pound, or 0.98%, from 2016.

US chicken consumption has risen every year since its most recent low of 81.72 pounds per person in 2012.  Per-capita chicken consumption actually stubbed its toe in 2007 when it dipped to 86.43 pounds after steadily rising each year 1995’s 69.45 pounds.  Steady annual consumption gains didn’t start again until 2013 when they were 83.14 pounds.




Expected US pork consumption was expected to hit 50.25 pounds this year, up 0.22 pound, or 0.44%, from 50.03 pounds last year.  2018 consumption was forecast at 50.56 pounds, up 0.31 pound, or 0.62% from the 2017 estimate.