Protein consumption around the world

06 December 2017

Key points:

  • Regular beef consumption is consistent at 20–30% of non-seafood meals across the globe.
  • Sheepmeat consumption varies considerably, and is only higher than beef in some MENA (Middle East and North Africa) markets.
  • Beef is generally perceived to be high in nutrition, premium and superior in quality and taste

Across a range of countries, consumers reflect diversity in their protein consumption (excluding seafood).

Chicken is universally included in meals in all countries (least in China (19%), highest in Jordan and Malaysia (52% and 47% respectively), and particularly strong in Canada (39%) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Meals that consumers claim to have prepared and eaten at home in the last seven days.
Source: MLA Global Consumer Tracker, 2017.

In Middle Eastern countries (where pork is not consumed), goat has a comparatively higher consumption level, particularly in the United Arab Emirates (13% of meals in the last seven days). Interestingly, nations outside of the Middle East such as Indonesia, the US, Malaysia and China are also claiming a high percentage of goat consumed recently.

Regular beef consumption is consistent at 20–30% of non-seafood meals across the globe. Sheepmeat consumption varies considerably, and is only higher than beef in some MENA (Middle East and North Africa) markets.

Whatever the consumption levels, meats tend to have similar profiles across the globe. Regional exceptions reflect local culture conditions (Figure 2). 

Figure 2: Relative strengths and weaknesses by protein – key themes consistent across markets, based on consideration sets, which can differ by market.
Source: MLA Global Consumer Tracker, 2017

Chicken and pork are seen as staple proteins in many countries. Despite not being perceived as particularly nutritious, these proteins are cheap, widely available, easy to prepare and are versatile in the meals in which they can be used.

Beef is perceived to be high in nutrition, premium and superior in quality and taste, and worth paying more for (particularly imported beef with strong safety credentials and consistency).

Lamb is considered a premium protein option and remains an unexploited opportunity due to its relative unfamiliarity among consumers. Many consumers are not aware of how lamb should be prepared and cooked.

Understanding consumption behaviour across proteins and markets provides insight into how beef and lamb can be differentiated against varied consumer needs and within their cultural context for competitive advantage.

This article is written by MLA’s Global Industry Insights & Strategy Team. If you have any queries or feedback, please let us know: globalindustryinsights@mla.com.au.

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