Beef consumption records record plunge

The contents of the plates change in Argentina. Consumption of beef, the country’s emblematic commodity and key export product, has fallen drastically in recent months, against a backdrop of declining purchasing power, reaching historic levels, according to the inter-professional association.

Over one year, from March 2023 to March 2024, beef consumption fell by 18.5% to an average of 42.6 kg per person per year, almost 10 kg less than the previous year, according to the report from the Chamber of Industry and Meat Trade (CICCRA).

A price increase of almost 278%

Unsurprisingly, this fall is largely due to the increase in prices, which reached nearly 278% for cut meat, i.e. of the same order as inflation (287% year-on-year). With an even more marked drop in consumption over the past three months, linked to the drop in purchasing power, in the wake of the devaluation of the peso (more than 50% in December).

Production, for its part, remained stable or in slight decline, at just under 750,000 tonnes for the first quarter, but with a sharp increase in exports, of around 23% year-on-year in volume.

Argentinians opt for pork or poultry

Over time, Argentines eat much less red meat than in the past. Consumption in the 1980s was around 78 kg per inhabitant per year, falling regularly to around 60 kg around ten years ago, according to data from the Institute for the Promotion of Beef. It has suffered competition from cheaper meats such as pork or poultry, consumption of which has doubled in thirty years, almost to the level of beef now, at just over 40 kg per person.

The Argentines nevertheless remain the leading consumers of beef in the world, closely followed or, depending on the year, overtaken by neighboring Uruguay, at similar levels.

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