JAPAN, Tokyo. Japanese meat consumption is growing so quickly it has pushed domestic per capita fish consumption to its lowest level since the 1960s, according to 2015 figures from Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The gap between levels of meat and fish consumption is increasing; meat consumption overtook that of fish about six years ago but the gap is widening; fish consumption is now 30% less than it was at its peak, in 2001.
The contrast with historic levels of meat consumption is startling. According to a National Geographic study, in 2011, 12% of the average Japanese person’s diet consisted of meat. Pork was the most commonly eaten protein, at 56 g per person, up 833% on the 1961 figure. In 2015, pork was the most popular meat among Japanese consumers, at 15 kg consumption per capita per annum, closely followed by poultry at 13.6 kg, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD). Beef and veal consumption was less than half that, at 6.7 kg, while mutton and lamb consumption was a mere 0.2 kg. Meanwhile, the OECD and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation Meanwhile, the OECD and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) project a 2.8% increase in pork consumption per capita between 2015 and 2024, as well as a 1.8% rise in poultry.
According to Japan’s Ministry of Finance, the country imported 209,100 t of fresh or frozen pork products between January and March 2016. This is an increase of more than 20% compared with the same period last year, and the highest tonnage for the period since 1994. In 2016, Japan is likely to be the world’s largest pork importer, according to the US Meat Export Federation.