GLOBAL POULTRY TRENDS: Per-Capita Turkey Meat Uptake Stable

Over the decade between 2000 and 2010, turkey meat consumption per person has risen significantly in the US, Brazil and the Russian Federation, writes industry watcher, Terry Evans, but global average consumption has remained stable.
calendar icon 19 December 2012
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Because question marks can be placed against many of the figures relating to the production and trade in turkey meat, it is almost impossible to be precise about the quantities eaten per person. In total volume terms, it appears that the quantity available for consumption has increased by at least 500,000 tonnes a year since 2000. However, as industry growth seems to have been a shade below that for the global human population, then the average uptake per person and year is likely to have declined a little.

In broad terms, the annual global per-capita average seems to be fairly stable at around 0.8kg. Presumably, because of the imprecise nature of the data the USDA presents consumption figures on an international basis to the nearest whole kilogramme per person (Table 1). Expressed in this way, it would appear that none of the countries listed has succeeded in expanding the quantity consumed per person since 2008. The second forecast column for 2012 in this table attempts to give a more detailed estimate of uptake as, where large human populations are involved as in all the countries listed, changes one way or another of even 0.1kg per person can equate to a significant rise or fall in the total quantity eaten.

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The US has witnessed a 102 per cent increase in turkey consumption per person since 1970, from 3.6kg to the current 7.4kg per person as the result of an increasing number of people realising that turkey was not just for eating during national holidays. The proportion of consumers only eating turkey during these occasions has fallen from 50 per cent in 1970 to 31 per cent today although average uptake per capita has remained relatively steady for several years.

One of the reasons for a decline in exports from Brazil in recent years has been that increases in turkey production have not been able to keep pace with the growth in consumption. With a human population approaching 200 million and an estimated increase in the uptake per person between 2010 and 2012 of from 1.67kg to 1.96kg, the increase in the total quantity eaten has amounted to around 58,000 tonnes a year, which is 15 per cent of the estimated total turkey consumption for 2012 of almost 390,000 tonnes.

Back in 2009, per-capita turkey meat consumption in Canada was close to 4.5kg. Since then, it has slipped to average about 4.2kg. As Canada's industry is controlled by a supply-management scheme implemented by the Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency, the quantity produced is limited, which must impact on consumption levels.

The quantity eaten in Mexico dipped sharply in 2009 to around 1.4kg per person but latterly, it appears to have moved up a little to around 1.5kg. It is important to note that this calculation involves not only estimates of the total available supplies of turkey meat but also of the human population.

One series of figures shows that turkey meat uptake in the EU has declined annually since peaking at 3.8kg per person in 2005 to 3.3kg in 2010. However, another set of figures indicates that uptake in 2010 was significantly higher at 3.8kg per person, easing down to an estimated 3.7kg in 2012!

Since 2010, consumption in Russia has increased from 0.7kg to a shade below 1kg per person. Although not traditionally a popular meat in the country, it is now considered by some as a replacement for relatively expensive beef. Additionally, there is a growing demand for sausage products produced from turkey meat. Also, large producers have started to advertise turkey as being healthier than other meats as well as it being a viable option for barbeques.

It looks as though uptake in South Africa has risen slightly from less than 0.7kg per person in 2010 to possibly 0.8kg in 2012.

In general, in developed economies, consumer tastes have moved towards leaner meats due to increased health awareness. Also in some instances, there has been an increase in the consumption of substitute products such as burgers containing turkey meat.

December 2012

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