Americans to enjoy a record amount of meat in 2018

With all of the hype around synthetic meat and plant based burgers, it appears consumers still have a taste and desire for regular old meat.

In the 2017 wrap-up show on RealAg Radio, Kelvin Heppner described “plant-based meat” as one of the most overused terms of 2017 and consumers are not buying the Silicon Valley hype machine either.

In fact, the USDA is forecasting U.S. meat consumption will set a new record in 2018.

The average consumer will eat 222.2 pounds (100.8 kilos) of red meat and poultry this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, surpassing a record set in 2004 (click here to download the USDA spreadsheet).

As Bloomberg notes, this is a reversal in the trend from 2007 through 2014 when meat demand slumped 9 percent.

Breaking down that total number, U.S. per capita beef consumption is forecast to hit 59.1 pounds, with pork climbing to 52.1. Chicken consumption is forecast to reach 91.9 pounds per person — a slight increase over last year.

Chicken consumption in the U.S. will average over 90 pounds per person in 2018, according to the USDA. (photo source: Isaac Wedin,, CC BY 2.0)

In comparison, Canadian consumption of chicken is expected to climb slightly to 73.6 pounds (33.4 kg), with beef at 56.2 pounds (25.5kg) and pork dropping to 46.5 pounds (21.1 kg) per capita.

This strong demand for protein is due to a strong economy and lower demand for carbohydrates. Other animal proteins like eggs and whole milk are also seeing strong demand.

Overall, there are reasons for optimism for everyone in the food protein complex as consumers continue to show a desire to eat protein. This optimism can be found in the beef, pork, poultry, pulses, soybeans and synthetic protein areas.

Of course, Canadian meat exporters’ ability to participate in the strong demand in the U.S. is threatened by NAFTA’s future. Round three of the negotiations will take place in Montreal, Quebec in late January.


Shaun Haney

Shaun Haney is the founder of He creates content regularly and hosts RealAg Radio on Rural Radio 147 every weekday at 4PM est. @shaunhaney


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