Meat Consumption

Global meat consumption has been rising quickly since the 1960s. Poultry and pork are the kinds of meat with a higher increase. Meat production during recent years is approximately five times higher than in the 1960s, from 70 million tones to 325 million tones today.

The first reason for these increasing numbers is the rising world population which doubled since the 1960s. The second reason is rising incomes, as meat is consumed more by wealthier people in developed countries.

Meat is considered a luxury in the poorest countries of the world, where people eat 10 times less meat than the average European citizen. Moreover, only 5% of people worldwide are vegetarian.[1,3]

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the world meat consumption (beef and veal, pork, poultry, and sheep meat) was 325 million tonnes in 2020. The three countries with the highest meat consumption for this year were China with 24% of the global meat consumption, the United States with 13% and Brazil with 6.5%, and the countries with the lowest meat consumption were New Zealand with 0.13%, Norway with 0.12% and Paraguay with 0.11%.[2]

Meat consumption will increase more in the following years, especially in developing countries, because of the high population levels and growth rates.[2]

Meat seems to have quite an environmental impact, such as Greenhouse Gas emissions, agricultural overexploitation, and water pollution. Furthermore, red meat seems to be related to risks of cancer, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney disease, and low life expectancy. Also, wild meat consumption is concerned to be related to virus infections that cause diseases like Hepatitis E. [3]

Ending, balancing and preventing the upcoming high meat consumption rates could be a beneficial action for human and environmental health worldwide.




[3] Neus González, Montse Marquès, Martí Nadal, José L. Domingo,

Meat consumption: Which are the current global risks? A review of recent (2010–2020) evidences, Food Research International