In 2020, Americans ate an average of 26.8 kilograms of beef per person per year, which is about 500 grams per week. This is an increase of 0.3 percent compared to last year. Beef consumption has increased 10 percent since 2015, according to the USDA. Due to tight supply on the one hand and strong demand on the other, the wholesale price of livestock has more than doubled (+133%) since March 2020.
Due to increased trade prices, cows are currently fattened for meat and not used for breeding. This phenomenon puts additional burden on livestock growth. “For this reason, it takes another three years for the herd to grow back,” says Ross Baldwin. On the other hand, “keeping cows for breeding will reduce meat production in the short term and increase prices further,” warns Texas A&M University professor David Anderson.
USDA predicts a further decline in beef production through 2024. “It keeps trade prices high and ultimately forces consumers to ask themselves whether they should continue to pay those high prices,” Baldwin said. According to him, the market can adjust due to low demand, although it is currently showing no signs of weakening.
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