One might think that meat consumption has been on the decrease over the past few years since the awareness of food sustainability. Individuals reducing meat consumption was mainly an initiative to either become healthier, reduce their environmental impact, or consider animal welfare. However, meat consumption has increased tremendously since the 1960s and today, production of meat is five times higher compared to 50 years ago. The main reason for this rise is that there are many more people to feed with the increasing world population – more than 7.6 billion to be precise.
The United States topped the charts for annual meat consumption at 120 kilograms per person, which is equivalent to half a cow. In fact, high levels of meat consumption can be seen across most Western countries – consuming between 80 and 90 kilograms of meat per person. On the other hand, Bangladesh holds the lowest meat consumption at 4 kilograms per person which is thirty times less than the U.S. This is likely due to cultural factors and abstaining from certain types of meat for religious reasons.
While the consumption of meat in Western countries has slightly increased, the types of meat consumed are changing, as there’s less preference for red meat and more poultry. Essentially, the challenge here is to create a future where meat consumption is sustainable and balanced across countries worldwide. The shift in the types of meat consumed is just as significant as the quantity of meat consumption.