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Chick-in, beef out: We're eating more chicken than ever before

Chick-in, beef out: We're eating more chicken than ever before


Chick-in, beef out

‍If you’ve found yourself perusing the meat aisles in recent months, perturbed by the price tags on the more-premium cuts of beef, you can rest easy knowing that you’re not alone — steak on the shopping list is getting rare.

In response to rising prices, Americans are turning to more affordable meats like chicken, with Tyson Foods — one of the world's largest meat processors — reporting that demand for chicken was still "extremely strong". Even so, chicken sales alone weren't enough to prevent the meat giant from missing its quarterly earnings target, with shares falling some 8% on Monday.

‍Where’s the beef?

‍Whilst the whatever-you-want-to-call-the-current-economic-situation certainly hasn’t helped red meat sales, Americans' consumption of beef has been waning for some time.

At its peak in 1976, there was 94lbs of beef produced and available per-person every year, roughly enough for everyone to have a Quarter Pounder each every single day. Since then however, consumer tastes — and thus availability — have changed, with chicken becoming America's most-favored meat by some margin.

Inflation-or-not, it would be surprising if beef consumption and production was even this high in 20 years from now, as an increasing number of Americans (roughly 10% currently) now reportedly identify as vegetarian or vegan. That's a number that's only likely to grow as more people ditch beef for environmental reasons — most studies suggest that the production of beef is far more damaging to the climate than any other food stuff.

For more on the emissions of different foods check out this guide from Our World In Data.

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