Meat still in strong demand in the US

16 October 2015


Consumer demand for beef and chicken remains above last year’s levels, while pork demand is relatively steady, according to the Daily Livestock Report (DLR). The measures used by DLR are per capita disappearance of meat, and retail prices, published by the US Department of Agriculture. This gives a value for real per capita expenditure (RPCE) – in US$ per month.

By looking at the change in expenditure per person, rather than simply consumption figures, the DLR aim to show changes in demand based on the willingness to pay more or less for the product. The figures are quoted in 2014 terms, thus accounting for inflation from year to year.

The latest figures available are for August, which show total RPCE of $64.82 – of which beef accounts for around half, and chicken slightly ahead of pork, but around a quarter each.

Real per capita expenditures for each protein:

  • Beef
    • August was estimated to have grown 4.2% on the previous year
    • year-to-date, expenditure was 11% higher,
    • indicating that demand growth was higher earlier in the year
  • Chicken
    • August was estimated to have grown 10.2% on the previous year
    • year-to-date, expenditure was 8.2% higher,
    • indicating that demand growth was lower earlier in the year
  • Pork
    • August was estimated to have grown 1% on the previous year
    • year-to-date, expenditure was 5.3% higher,
    • indicating that demand growth was higher earlier in the year

A caveat reported for chicken RPCE growth is that there may have been large volumes of chicken rendered, rather than actually consumed, as a result of very low poultry prices – stemming from import bans after the avian influenza outbreak.

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