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First estimates for the combined annual production of the world’s poultry industries in 2010 put the total at about 95 million metric tons of meat and approximately 63 million metric tons of eggs.

The following pages of this latest WATT Executive Guide to World Poultry Trends look in detail at the numbers recorded so far, both for production and for consumption. You will find data and trends relating to sectors, countries and world regions.

We bring you at-a-glance charts not only on these statistics, but also on how leading analysts say the global poultry markets are likely to develop in the next five to 10 years.

The primary source of the following datasets is the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO – see its website

How the main meats compare  

As of the middle of 2010, FAO reported that 281.5 million metric tons of all meats had been produced worldwide in 2009 and that poultry meat accounted for about 92.3 million metric tons of this total. Poultry’s output compared with 103.6 million metric tons for pork and 64.7 million metric tons of beef.

Earlier figures from the same source offer an insight into the development of the world meat market over the past 10 years.  According to FAO, the production of 230 million metric tons of all meat in 1999 was composed of about 65.2 million metric tons of poultry meat with 56.3 million metric tons of beef and 89.5 million metric tons of pork.

Meanwhile it seems that the world’s production of table eggs over this 10-year period grew from around 49.8 million metric tons to more than 62 million metric tons.

Therefore, the data suggest that the growth in poultry meat production from 1999 to 2009 approached 42% while the rates for pork and beef were under 16% and 15%, respectively.


As we shall see in more detail later, forecasts of world poultry meat production suggest that it could rise by 29% over the coming decade, averaging 2.4% of growth per year to reach almost 118 million metric tons, while the output of eggs could show nearly a 16.5% increase by 2015 to a new record of 71 million metric tons.

Recovery after recession  

A more immediate concern in 2010 was that the year would see a recovery from the international economic downturn and its widespread negative effects on animal protein markets around the world. Global gross domestic product (GDP) was reckoned to have fallen by 2% in 2009, but prominent economists predicted a return to growth in 2010 with an increase of about 2.8%. The pace of the rebound was expected to be faster in the emerging markets of Asia than in the mature economies of Europe and North America.

The recessionary downturn in major poultry markets during 2009 was illustrated by a report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), showing that the 8.55 billion broilers marketed in the USA at a total live weight of 21.7 million metric tons had represented a 5% fall from 2008 levels and America’s turkey output had fallen by 10% to around 3.25 million metric tons.

By contrast, the annual output of eggs had risen from 90 million to 90.4 million.  But as previous editions of this Executive Guide have pointed out, it is typical to find a difference between developed-economy and developing-economy countries in terms of egg purchasing patterns when incomes change. Consumers in a developed economy tend to buy about the same quantities of eggs regardless of any recessionary pressure, whereas in a developing economy the demand for eggs soon reflects any improvement or deterioration in buying power.

The 6th edition of the annual Agricultural Outlook prepared jointly by FAO with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has said that a return to global economic growth will combine with a rising population to drive agricultural production, consumption and trade during the period 2010 to 2019. It projected average annual rates of GDP growth by country to 2019 ranging from 8% for China and 6.6% for India to 4.5% for Brazil, 3% for Argentina, 2.5% for the USA and 2% for the European Union. Details can be viewed at

The world’s human population was estimated at 6.12 billion in 2000, rising to 6.83 billion in 2009 and expected to reach 6.91 billion in 2010. From now until 2019 it is expected to rise at an average of 1.1% per year, compared with its 1.2% average annual growth rate in the previous decade.

But the big forecast is still the 9.2 billion that forecasters say will be the number of humans on the planet in the year 2050. Being able to feed this many mouths will need a 70% increase from current levels of world food production, said the OECD/FAO report, although the output from global agriculture remains on track to meet the extra demand.