Recession Cuts Deep into US Meat Consumption

US - As the recession deepens, people are eating less beef, pork and poultry, leading to the biggest per capita decline in meat consumption since 1982, an industry analyst told the Kansas Livestock Association.
calendar icon 10 December 2008
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Hundreds of cattlemen gathered in Kansas for an annual convention amid fears of a global credit crisis and concerns about stricter environmental regulation under the Obama administration, reports Roxana Hegemen for BusinessWeek.

According to her report, consumers have already begun buying cheaper cuts of beef this year, CattleFax analyst Randy Blach said.

Per capita consumption of chuck was up 10 percent, while consumption of more expensive loin was down 7 percent so far this year, his statistics showed.

"This is one of the absolute worst years," Blach said. Cattlemen on average lost $130 a head for their cattle this year, he added, saying: "I was surprised by the magnitude of losses this year, but I am not surprised we lost money," Blach said.

His outlook for next year was also grim, says BusinessWeek. Blach forecast livestock inventories to continue shrinking and per capita meat consumption to decline. He also expected costs to remain high, with tighter profit margins.

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