The consumption of meat is some sort of a luxury to most but still found in almost all kitchens and eateries around the world.
In 2020 the global meat industry was valued at $838 billion. The frozen meat segment is among the most popular and holds a market share of over 70% globally.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) reported that pork is the most popular and widely eaten meat worldwide accounting for 36% of all meat, followed by poultry with 33%, beef 24%, and goat or sheep at 5% since they are the least eaten meat all over the world.
Pork is largely consumed in Chinese and European nations. The largest pork exporter is the European Union. The United States takes the lead when it comes to beef production, consumption and export. The per capita consumption of beef is above 111 pounds and at the end of 2020 the US beef industry trade was valued at $6.6 billion.
The United States has the highest revenue grossing when it comes to meat products. It earned nearly $40 billion by the end of 2020. Germany was in the second position with $28 billion and then Russia with $17.5 billion.
Western nations took the lead when it comes to revenue collection and consumption but when it comes to manufacturing and production its Asian regions that take the lead even though biggest meat corporations are situated in the United States namely – Hormel Foods, Tyson Foods and National Beef.
Tyson Foods has a animal revenue of 82% worldwide and is the leading producer and seller of beef. Whereas Hormel foods is the biggest producer of meat all over the world.
In 2020, at least 328 million metric tons of meat was produced compared to the 325 million in 2019. Of which 135 million metric tons were produced in Asian countries alone. European nations accounting for 64 million metric tons and the Americas produced 109 million metric tons for the same year.
You’d think that looking at the growing awareness and consciousness towards animals and their rights which has led to increase in vegetarianism, veganism and rise of meat alternative brands and products would slow down this industry , but no its trajectory seems to be showing the exact opposite, the valuation of this industry is said to rise to over a trillion dollars by the end of 2025.
It is predicted that the poultry industry will replace pork by the end of 2021 as the most consumed meat. The US is said to see a massive rise in consumption of red meat over the coming years, which will be a major contributing factor to the growth of this industry.
While a lot of us enjoy eating meat, we don’t realize that we might be violating the rights of other beings and at the same time contributing to environmental degradation. When we eat meat we contribute to climate change as meat consumption leads to rise in CO2 emission levels. The UNFAO has said that the meat and dairy industry alone accounts for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
Meat production is also very water intensive by nature. Beef production requires twice the amount of water compared to pork and nearly four times more when compared to alternative sources of fibers and proteins like vegetables and lentils. Not to forget livestock production directly leads to water pollution because it ends up contaminating water streams and courses with animal manure. Animal grazing too tends leaves behind infertile land making cultivation difficult.
If the meat industry continues its fast paced growth over the coming years, the cost that would burden the environment and humanity collectively might be something we can’t mitigate or replicate.