September 9, 2008


China to drive up global meat demand 20 percent by 2015

Worldwide meat consumption may be 20-percent higher by 2015 due to Chinese demand, said Richard Brown, director of Geneva-based Gira food research agency, on Monday (September 8, 2008).

Despite a world economic downturn, the growth for global meat demand is still going strong, according to Brown.


Global meat consumption between 2005-2015 will grow 50 million tonnes to 315 million tonnes, Brown said.


Pork is expected to remain as the world's most popular meat, despite religious and cultural barriers. However, pork's long-term growth is also projected to be slightly lower than that of poultry, the cheapest protein source.


Gira statistics said China consumes one-quarter of the world's meat consumption, with the North America and the EU as the next largest consumers.


Aside from China, Brown is expecting strong growth to occur in the Middle East and North Africa, as record oil and commodity prices help fuel an emerging middle-class that would purchase more costly meat.


Global shortage of grain and corn would heavily impact pig farmers, who had to bear higher production costs as feedstock prices surged. Brown said good crop harvests in 2008 may weaken the feed costs passed onto consumers.


"But our long-term prognosis is quite clear, that we have entered a period of much tighter supply surplus in most food products and the world has a growing hunger for food. Volumes are going to go up and prices will have to go up," Brown said.


Brown said the meat industry also faces challenges such as changing consumer attitudes and the growing awareness of environmental issues.


Obesity concerns and animal diseases such as the mad cow disease have also kept consumers away from meat-based diets.


"Diseases particularly have caused massive problems over the last 20 years," said Brown.

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