Poultry meat consumption in Argentina equals that of beef

For the first time, the per capita consumption of poultry meat reached that of beef: 50 kilos (110.2 pounds) per person per year.

(Bill C | Bigstock.com)
(Bill C | Bigstock.com)

Even though 2020 has been a year full of challenges for Argentinian poultry farmers, there is some good news. For the first time, the per capita consumption of poultry meat reached that of beef: 50 kilos (110.2 pounds) per person per year. 

With this figure, Argentina ranks second in chicken consumption in Latin America, surpassed only by Peru, with 51.1 kilos (112.7 pounds) of chicken meat per capita. 

This would also go with the global upward trend in poultry meat consumption: in 2020, chicken meat would be the most consumed animal protein in the world, according to Rabobank projections. 

“We have managed to have a space that we did not have before. This year, we have made an important jump of almost 3 kilos in the average consumption (of chicken meat). We exceeded 47 kilos and reached 50 kilos,” said the president of the Center for Poultry Processing Companies (CEPA, in Spanish), Roberto Domenech, in an interview with Mañana Visión

However, for Domenech, this increase in consumption is not enough to say that it has been a “positive” year for the industry, as exports and prices fell, although production increased by 3%. 

“Foreign trade fell significantly. First, the demand fell and then the price fell. Without a doubt, the tons to the domestic market depressed prices, which had a direct impact on consumption,” said Domenech. 

In the future, it remains to be seen if the chicken meat consumption stays in 50 kilos per capita, since it also “depends a lot on beef if the chicken consumption habit is strengthened,” he added. 

Historical growth of animal production 

According to an article in the newspaper Clarín, the world went from a production of 87 million tons of chicken, pork, cattle and sheep in 1960 to 430 million tons today. “It almost multiplied by five, twice the population that (went) from 3,000 to 7,500 million people. Per capita meat consumption doubled,” the report said. 

The difference is that, in 1960, beef represented 90% of the 100 kilos of consumption, while now it only represents 42%. 

The newspaper also indicated that, with these figures, Argentina ranks second in the global consumption of meat (beef, chicken, cattle and sheep combined). The United States is the first one among the countries that consume more than 105 kilos of meat in the world, followed by Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. 

Nevertheless, the economic crisis in Argentina, followed by the pandemic crisis, could be a factor in those figures. 

In Latin America, Argentina is the fifth largest poultry producer, according to WATT Poultry’s Top Companies database.  

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