FRANCE, Paris. The measures taken to combat the pandemic led to a drop in consumption of all types of meat. Retail sales, on the other hand, increased.
Meat consumption in France continued to decline last year. As reported by the Statistical Service at the Paris Ministry of Agriculture (Agreste) and the agricultural authority FranceAgriMer, a total of around 5.78 mill. t of meat were used for domestic consumption in 2020, based on the slaughter weight (SG) of the animals; compared to the previous year, this corresponded to a decrease of 1.5%. On average, 84.5 kg of meat were consumed per capita, compared with 86 kg in 2019.
Not only was red meat less in demand, but the demand for poultry meat also declined somewhat. According to the authorities, around 3.88 mill. t of red meat were consumed, 2.1% less than in the previous year. Beef, in particular, landed less on plates; at 1.54 mill. t, consumption was 2.9% lower than in 2019. 2.14 mill. t of pork was in demand; this represented a drop of just 0.9%. At 5.1%, the decline was much more pronounced for sheep meat, which, however, plays only a minor role with a total consumption of 164,000 t. According to the authorities, the consumption of horsemeat, which is even less significant in economic terms, plummeted by 21.3% to 8,000 t.
The decline in poultry was less pronounced than in red meat. According to the authorities, about 1.90 mill. t of poultry meat were consumed for human consumption last year, down 0.3%. According to Agreste and FranceAgriMer, restrictions on catering as a result of measures taken against the Corona pandemic slowed demand for poultry meat for the first time in 20 years. Duck meat consumption in particular fell sharply, with 199,000 t consumed, down 14% from 2019. Meanwhile, demand for chicken meat rose 1.5% to 1.38 mill. t. Turkey meat was also more in demand; at 294,000 t, consumption was 1.8% higher than in 2019.
The pandemic has also left clear traces in the purchasing behavior of the population. Sales of fresh meat and meat products in food retail increased significantly. According to the authorities, around 1.54 mill. t of red meat were sold to French households through food retailers last year, representing an increase of 6.4%. The average price paid per kilogram was € 11.4, 3.1% more than in 2019. Beef was most in demand for home cooking, with 377,000 sold, an increase of 8.9%. Private households also bought noticeably more pork, with sales rising by 5.9% to 997,000 t.
The gains in poultry were even stronger than in red meat. According to the authorities, around 641,000 t of poultry meat were sold to households in fresh, canned or processed form in 2020, exceeding the previous year's volume by 9.1%. Unsurprisingly, the top seller was chicken meat, of which 384,000 t were sold, an increase of 11.7%. On average, one kilogram changed hands for € 7.4, but this was only 1.3% more than in the previous year.