Driving Meat Demand in Developing Nations

US state data suggests a 1.9 per cent per annum growth in meat consumption from the year until 2023, write analysts at the Livestock and Meat Commission.
calendar icon 18 March 2014
clock icon 4 minute read

Increases in the global demand for meat over the next decade is expected to be driven by improved economic growth in developing countries with demand in developed countries expected to remain steady according to the latest annual projections from US Department of Agriculture.

Global meat consumption is forecasted to grow at 1.9 per cent per annum during 2014-2023 with demand from the developing world driven by rising incomes and growing populations. This growth will result in the increasing importance of developing countries, particularly China, India, other areas of developing Asia, Africa and Latin America in the global meat market.

With increased demand for meat from these regions the USDA has forecast a 22 per cent increase in world meat trade due to improved standards of living and higher levels of disposable income.

The report has also forecast a decline in the level of meat imports into Russia in response to improvements in domestic meat production as a result of government policies stimulating production.

Beef production in Asian countries is forecast to grow over the next decade, particularly in India.

Demand from developing countries for India’s lower priced and lower quality buffalo origin beef is projected to continue rising rapidly with India’s increasing exports expected to account for 36 per cent of the forecast increases in world beef exports over the next ten years.

Australia has generally been the world’s second largest beef exporter behind Brazil but with Australia’s beef herd currently rebuilding after declines due to prolonged periods of drought has meant Australian beef exports are forecast to stagnate over the next decade. According to USDA forecasts this stagnation in exports will result in exports from India and the US to overtake Australia and make it the fourth largest global beef exporter.

Canada is another key player in the global meat market but its cow herd has contracted in recent years. With stronger returns producers are expected to rebuild herds and as a result beef exports are projected to rise steadily but not to exceed the levels recorded in the previous decade.

Argentina’s beef herd is expected to follow a similar trend with exports expected to rise gradually over the next decade. Between 2014 and 2023 imports by major beef importing countries are expected to increase by almost 2.3 million tonnes to 9.1million tonnes.

This represents an increase of 34 per cent with two thirds of this growing demand being met from increased exports of lower priced beef from India and Brazil.

Russia is expected to remain a strong market for EU and South American beef exports over the next decade but the level of imports is expected to fluctuate around 1.2 million tonnes as rising consumer demand is expected to be offset by increased domestic production.

Meanwhile beef imports by China and Hong Kong are expected to grow by 55 per cent over the next decade as increasing incomes and a growing demand for beef will outstrip any growth in domestic production.

Imports of beef by the US is also forecast to grow over the next decade and it is expected to be the largest beef importer and account for 13 per cent of the increase in global imports. The US has recently aligned its BSE policy with that of the OIE and work has now begun to firm up arrangements for trading of beef between the EU and US.

The Middle East and Asia are projected to be the key growth areas for beef over the next decade and account for almost two thirds of the increase in global imports in the 2014- 2013 period.

The USDA report has predicted increases in livestock production and per capita red meat consumption in the US over the next decade as the agricultural industry recovers from high feed costs and problems with drought.

Beef production is projected to decline until 2016 as producers retain heifers to help build up herds and to increase gradually thereafter. Beef cow numbers in the US are expected to increase from 29 million in 2013 to 33 million in 2023. This fourteen per cent increase in beef cow numbers and projected increases in slaughter weights will further add to total beef production.

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