September 10, 2008
Buffalo beef has become a new favourite source of protein intake in India as some pulses have become more expensive than the meat, according to the USDA in its India Livestock and Products Annual 2008 report.
USDA said both poultry and buffalo beef have "no specific religious sentiments attached" to their consumption.
Hindus who made up about 80 percent of India's total population do not eat beef, while 13 percent of Muslims do not consume pork. However, the USDA noted that the younger generation is changing their food habits to non-vegetarian and other processed foods.
With rising income levels, domestic meat consumption has the potential to grow further, USDA said, adding that buffalo beef and poultry meat are popular due to their price competitiveness.
Beef consumption is expected to rise by 5 percent to 1.94 million tonnes next year from 2008, the report said.
The report also estimated per capita beef consumption to reach 1.6 kg compared to 1.8 kg for poultry meat.
USDA said beef consumption continues to rise as it remains the cheapest meat in the Indian market.
India's per capita meat consumption is estimated at 5.5 kg per year, much lower than 10.8 kg per year as recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research, according to the USDA.