BELGIUM, Brussels. By 2031, Brussels experts expect only a slight decline in consumption. But one species is losing out significantly. Cultured meat is not yet a serious threat.
Sustainability issues will increasingly influence the production and consumption of meat in the European Union over the next ten years. At least this is the assumption made by the Brussels Commission in a current long-term forecast and it expects a downward trend in production and consumption also due to this change in awareness. Meat consumption in the Community is expected to fall by around 800,000 t or 2% to 37.2 mill. t by 2031, measured against the average for the years 2019 to 2021. Average per capita consumption is assumed to decrease by 800 g to 67 kg. Meat production in member states is expected to decline by as much as 4% to 42.9 mill. t over the period.
Meat production becomes more sustainable
Modernisation, innovative technologies and changes in farming practices are expected to lead to more efficient and environmentally friendly meat production. Consumer concerns about the environment and climate change will lead to more attention being paid to the production process and the origin of products. Other factors for changing consumer habits are likely to be health-related nutritional issues, but also convenience with a shift in demand towards more processed meat. The Brussels-based authority does not expect lab-grown meat to become a competitor in the next decade because of problems with consumer acceptance and price. However, plant-based meat-free alternatives are likely to gain in importance.
Demand for poultry meat is rising
The Commission forecasts different developments for the individual types of meat. For example, the average per capita consumption of poultry meat is expected to increase by 1.3 to 24.8 kg by 2031 compared to the reference period, and EU production is expected to grow by 4% to 14.1 mill. t. Sheep and lamb consumption is expected to increase slightly by 100 g to 1.4 kg, driven by diversification of meat consumption and migration. Pork, on the other hand, is expected to be among the losers. The consumption of the average EU citizen is expected to fall by 1.5 to 32 kg over the next decade, representing a total under-consumption of almost one million tonnes in the Community. The Commission sees pigmeat production in an even sharper decline; this is expected to fall by 1.8 mill. t or almost 8% to 21.5 mill. t by 2031. The situation is similar for beef, with a predicted drop in production of also 8% to 6.6 mill. t; average per capita consumption is expected to fall by around 700 g to 9.7 kg a year.
Source: fleischwirtschaft.de; AgE