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Where’s the meat?

The global meat sector has suffered from bad press in recent years, with sales affected by trade bans and consumer caution in light of scares from the likes of mad-cow disease (BSE) and avian flu.

Demographics and income growth, as well as dietary changes towards grain-based food, also influence meat output and consumption. According to the latest OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2005-2014, overall OECD output of beef and veal, for instance, will rise only slightly from its 1999-2003 average of 26,770 kt cwe (thousand tonnes at carcass weight equivalent) over the next decade to just over 27,000 kt cwe.

Output from non-OECD countries will rise much more sharply, however, from 32,733 kt cwe to around 45,000 kt cwe by 2014. Similar pictures can be painted for pig meat and sheep meats, and the OECD share in global meat production will continue its decline in the years ahead. However, poultry output will continue to expand even in OECD countries, and will shake off scares from avian flu, though a shift in trade towards cooked and processed poultry is likely. In fact, according to the report, poultry is expected to become the most consumed meat in OECD countries, accounting for 37% of all meat consumed by 2014. OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2005-2014 can be ordered at www.oecdbookshop.org.

Rory J. Clarke

©OECD Observer No 252/253, November 2005