BELGIUM, Brussels. Meat consumption in the EU is declining markedly. This affects pork in particular. But beef and even poultry are also losing popularity.
The lockdown during the Corona pandemic and the temporary cessation of out-of-home consumption will lead to a noticeable drop in meat consumption in the EU this year. The EU Commission estimates that, compared to 2019, the 27 member states will consume 844,000 t or 2.3% less, with a total consumption of 36.59 mill. t. Average per capita consumption is expected to fall by 1.7 kg from 67.1 kg to 65.4 kg. This would be the lowest level since 2015.
All types of meat are affected by the expected decline in consumption. With the strongest loss in comparison to the previous year, the market experts expect pork to decline by 3% to 29.6 kg per capita. This would be the first time that the 30 kg mark would be undershot. In addition, a decrease in consumption per EU citizen of 2.7% to 10.4 kg is forecast for beef and a decrease of 1.9% to 24 kg for poultry meat, which has prospered up to now.
According to the EU Commission, the lower expected meat production also plays a role in the decline in consumption in addition to the corona effect. In 2020, the quantity produced in the slaughterhouses of the EU is expected to be 0.6% below the previous year's figure at 43.80 mill. t. In addition, meat imports are expected to decline by 8.7% to 1.43 mill. t and exports are expected to increase by 5.1% to 8.64 mill. t. Pigmeat production alone is expected to increase slightly compared to 2019, by 0.5% to 23.07 mill. t. In contrast, beef production is forecast to fall by 1.7% to 6.89 mill. t and poultry production by 2% to 13.23 mill. t, with livestock stocks declining.
The EU Commission expects that poultry slaughterers will adjust to the declining demand in the EU and the reduced export opportunities to third countries with lower production in the further course of the year.