Understanding the Shifting Landscape of the Meat Industry

Meat is a crucial component of western diets. Eastern countries like China are also experiencing significant meat consumption increases. As the global demand for meat changes, factory farms and food production facilities must alter their practices.

The green revolution also influences individuals’ consumption patterns. Environmentalists film and distribute animal rights documentaries, promoting plant-based diets. The meat industry’s shift is impacting global corporations.


Changes in Global Society’s Consumption Patterns

China has a longstanding relationship with plant-based diets. The country’s largest institutionalized religion, Buddhism, practices veganism. In recent years, China’s meat industry has grown by nearly 33.5% compared to 2014 ratings.

The country now consumes more pork than any other region globally. Researchers determine China’s meat consumption increase correlates with the growing middle class. Individuals also have more disposable income to spend on luxury food items.

In other regions, meat consumption rates are significantly decreasing. Films like What the Health and Cowspiracy sparked a plant-based movement in developed countries like the U.S. The environmental movement also influences plant-based consumer habits.

Ecologists are identifying the relationship between livestock farming and soil erosion, which causes nutrient depletion. Another adverse effect of meat production is deforestation. After assessing the environmental challenges associated with meat, individuals reduce their consumption rates.


Countries Maintaining High Consumption Rates

Before assessing the countries consuming the most meat, individuals must explore different production rates. Globally, meat production is nearly five times higher than production in the 1960s. The Caribbean produces the most meat annually compared to other regions.

America, Europe and Asia are also top leaders in the meat production race. While the Caribbean produces the most meat, the U.S. and Australia have the highest consumption rates. Western Europe also consumes up to 90 kilograms of meat per person.


Countries with Decreasing Meat Intakes

Bangladesh, India, and Burundi are the top three countries with the lowest meat intake rates. In Bangladesh, individuals consume nearly four kilograms of meat per person. Bangladeshis take in about 86 kilograms less meat than Western Europeans.

In India, religious and cultural norms influence vegetarian diets. About 40% of Indians eliminate meat from their diets. In India, the Hindu religion also contributes to low consumption rates because cows are considered sacred.


Meeting Eco-Consumer Demands

In meat-eating regions, individuals can continue practicing sustainability by recycling animal fat. Most home cooks and professional chefs remove fats from animal products before cooking a meal. Individuals can render the material to minimize food waste and create biofuel.

Consumers view nearly 50% of animals’ bodies as inedible. Individuals can eliminate about 16 million tons of food waste by reclaiming inedible animal components. Recycling professionals utilize the materials for fertilizer, animal feed, pet food and more.

Other countries can support their declining meat consumption rates by producing more plant-based alternatives. Many vegan consumers are deficient in vitamin B12. Meat producers can develop plant-based alternatives fortified with B12 to meet customers’ needs.

Beyond Meat is one vegan food company adapting to plant-based consumers. The company’s burgers contain nearly 20 grams of protein. Beyond Meat also fortifies its products with vitamin B12 and other essential nutrients.


Sustainable Meat Production Trends

The meat industry can adopt sustainable practices to meet consumers’ demands while improving environmental conditions. One eco-friendly farming method is holistic grazing. The grazing technique uses livestock as a soil fertility tool.

Conventional farming practices contribute to soil erosion. Holistic grazing mimics natural ecosystem patterns, using controlled roaming and fertilizer to restore soil nutrients. Another sustainable approach involves methane filtration technologies.

Environmental engineers developed a mask for cattle to trap methane. Cattle release nearly 95% of their methane through burps. Placing the methane filtration mask on cattle can significantly minimize their carbon footprints.


The Meat Industry’s Future

As more countries develop sustainability regulations, individuals can expect significant shifts in the meat industry. While consumption rates may remain consistent, environmental engineers may develop more eco-friendly agricultural technologies. When farmers integrate supportive technologies into their production practices, they can shrink their carbon footprints and meet eco-consumers demands. 

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