Australian per capita meat consumption declining. Why?

Australian per capita meat consumption declining. Why?

Australian per capita meat consumption declining. Why?

Per capita meat consumption – particularly red meat consumption – is trending downward in Australia, attendees of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta were told.

Speaking via a pre-recorded presentation that was shown during the IPPE’s Poultry Market Intelligence Forum on January 29, David Hughes, emeritus professor of food marketing at Imperial College of London, and visiting professor at the Royal Agricultural University, U.K., talked about a variety of consumer trends impacting the meat and poultry industries. Hughes was originally scheduled to speak in person at the IPPE, but was unable to travel due to health concerns.

The downward trend of per capita meat consumption was one of the industry trends addressed by Hughes, and he offered insights from a recent study as to why. The study, “Hungry for Plant-based Australian Consumer Insights,” was conducted by think tank Food Frontier.

“People’s health is the No. 1 reasons the Australians …  are choosing to eat less meat,” Hughes said, adding that Australian consumers cited weight loss, help with digestion, limiting the risk of cancer and reducing the chances of cardiovascular problems as specific health-related reasons.

While health is the most cited reason for the per capita decline, Australians also said environmental concerns, animal welfare concerns, the cost of meat (particularly that of red meat) and the availability of a better variety of plant-based protein options.

Breaking down the reduction of meat consumption

The drop in per capita meat consumption in Australia is largely due to trends regarding both older and younger generations.

Hughes said that in Australia 57% of all vegans and 61% of vegetarians are Millennials.

But flexitarian diets – ones where consumers still eat meat but less of it – are increasingly becoming more commonplace. According to the data shown by Hughes, 43% of all meat reducers in Australia are part of the Baby Boomer generation.

Flexitarians offer opportunities for meat and poultry companies

Hughes explained that flexitarians still like meat, but they consider eating less of it. This could be considered bad news for the meat and poultry industry, but Hughes says for certain niche markets, the flexitarian trend could be a good thing.

“When they eat less meat, they actually want to eat better meat, and that’s a real opportunity in the premium end for meat, whether it be red meat or white meat, in many countries,” he said.


Open chat
Need help?
Can we help you?