Which countries eat a many meat?


Woman eating a burgerImage copyright
Getty Images

You might have listened an augmenting series of people vouch to revoke their beef eating newly – or cut it out altogether.

This mostly forms partial of a bid to turn healthier, revoke their environmental impact, or cruise animal welfare.

A third of Britons explain to have possibly stopped eating beef or reduced it, while dual thirds of those in a US contend they are eating reduction of during slightest one meat.

This trend is partly interjection to initiatives such as Meat-free Mondays and Veganuary. At a same time, a series of documentaries and high-profile advocates of veganism have highlighted a intensity advantages of eating reduction meat.

But have these sentiments had any outcome on a ground?

Rising incomes

What we do know is that tellurian beef expenditure has augmenting fast over a past 50 years.

Meat prolongation now is scarcely 5 times aloft than in a early 1960s – from 70 million tonnes to some-more than 330 tonnes in 2017.

A vast reason for this is that there are many some-more people to feed.

Over that duration a universe race some-more than doubled. In a early 1960s there were around 3 billion of us, and now there are some-more than 7.6 billion.

While race is partial of a story, it doesn’t wholly comment for because beef prolongation augmenting five-fold.

Another pivotal cause is rising incomes.

Around a world, people have turn richer, with a tellurian normal income some-more than tripling in half a century.

When we review expenditure opposite opposite countries we see that, typically, a richer we are a some-more beef we eat.

There are not usually some-more people in a universe – there are some-more people who can means to eat meat.

Calculate your diet’s CO footprint

Fast food giants underneath glow on meridian and H2O usage

Who cooking a many meat?

We see a transparent couple with resources when looking during patterns of beef expenditure opposite a world.

In 2013, a many new year available, a US and Australia surfaced a tables for annual beef consumption. Alongside New Zealand and Argentina, both countries surfaced some-more than 100kg per person, a homogeneous to about 50 chickens or half a cow each.

In fact, high levels of beef expenditure can be seen opposite a West, with many countries in Western Europe immoderate between 80 and 90 kilograms of beef per person.

At a other finish of a spectrum, many of a world’s lowest countries eat unequivocally tiny meat.

The normal Ethiopian consumes usually 7kg, Rwandans 8kg and Nigerians 9kg. This is 10 times reduction than a normal European.

For those in low-income countries, beef is still unequivocally most a luxury.

These total paint a volume of beef per conduct accessible for consumption, though do not comment for any food squandered during home or on a emporium floor. In reality, people eat somewhat reduction beef than this, though it’s still a tighten estimate.

Middle-income countries pushing a direct for meat

It is transparent that a richest countries eat a lot of meat, and those on low incomes eat little.

This has been a box for 50 years or more. So because are we collectively eating so most some-more meat?

This trend has been mostly driven from a flourishing rope of middle-income countries.

Rapidly flourishing nations like China and Brazil have seen poignant mercantile expansion in new decades, and a vast arise in beef consumption.

In Kenya, beef expenditure has altered tiny given 1960.

By contrast, a normal chairman in 1960s China consumed reduction than 5kg a year. By a late 1980s this had risen to 20kg, and in a final few decades this has some-more than tripled to over 60kg.

The same thing happened in Brazil, where beef expenditure has roughly doubled given 1990 – overtaking roughly all Western countries in a process.

India is one important exception.

While normal incomes have tripled given 1990, beef expenditure hasn’t followed suit.

It is a myth that a infancy of India is vegetarian – dual thirds of Indians do eat during slightest some meat, according to a national survey.

Nonetheless, a volume of beef consumed in India has remained small. At reduction than 4kg per person, it is a lowest in a world. This is expected to be partly down to informative factors for some in India, including not eating certain forms of beef for eremite reasons.

Is beef expenditure descending in a West?

Many in Europe and North America contend they are perplexing to cut down on meat, though is it working?

Not really, according to statistics.

Recent information from a United States Department for Agriculture (USDA) suggests beef expenditure per conduct has indeed augmenting over a final few years.

While we might consider that beef is apropos reduction popular, US expenditure in 2018 was tighten to a top in decades.

It’s a identical design with beef expenditure in a EU.

While Western expenditure of beef is steady, or somewhat increasing, a forms of beef eaten are changing.

This means reduction red beef – beef and pig – and some-more poultry.

In a US, ornithology now accounts for half of beef consumption, adult from a entertain in a 1970s.

These forms of transformation could be good news for health and a environment.

More stories like this

  • The places where too many are fat and too many are thin
  • What do astronauts and one in 5 women have in common?
  • Why a UK has such inexpensive food
  • Why a universe is apropos some-more allergic

The impact of meat

In some circumstances, eating beef can be beneficial.

Moderate quantities of beef and dairy can urge people’s health, quite in lower-income countries where diets might miss variety.

But in many countries, beef expenditure goes distant over simple nutritive benefits.

In fact, it could be a health risk. Studies have related additional red and processed beef expenditure with augmenting risk of heart disease, cadence and certain forms of cancer.

Substituting duck for beef or bacon could be a certain step.

This barter is also improved for a sourroundings as cows, in particular, are emasculate converters of feed to meat.

Compared to chicken, beef has anywhere in a operation of 3 to 10 times as most impact on land use, H2O and hothouse gas emissions. Pork is somewhere in between a two.

A destiny where beef expenditure is tolerable and offset opposite countries would need vital changes.

This would meant not usually a change in a forms of beef we eat, though also how much.

Essentially, beef would have to turn some-more of a oppulance again.

About this piece

This investigate square was consecrated by a BBC from an consultant operative for an outward organisation.

Hannah Ritchie is an Oxford Martin fellow, and is now operative as a researcher during OurWorldinData.org. This is a corner plan between Oxford Martin and non-profit organization Global Change Data Lab, that aims to benefaction investigate on how a universe is changing by interactive visualisations. You can follow her on Twitter here.

Edited by Eleanor Lawrie


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here