Meat consumption in the United States has been increasing rapidly over the past few years. The average American ate 193 pounds of chicken, pork, or beef in 2016. This increase in meat consumption is a significant uptick from the 184 pounds each American ate in 2012. By 2018, the amount of meat Americans eat is estimated to rise to over 200 pounds per person.
The largest proportion of meat consumed by Americans is poultry. Poultry plays an essential role in the US Economy with the United States being the world’s largest producer and second largest exporter of poultry meat. As such, let us take a look at how the poultry industry has fared in the United States this year.
Beef's Loss Is Poultry's Gain
An oversupply of cattle has hurt producers in the beef industry over the past few years. While the average consumer benefits from low prices of ground beef, price depletion of beef products have hurt ranchers and cattle feeders. On the other hand, a controlled supply and high interest in domestic fowl products have kept poultry prices strong. People enjoy eating chicken, quail and turkey meat. These meats are not only an inexpensive source of protein but also lean and healthy. Furthermore, these meats can easily be adapted to use in many different kinds of cuisine.
Strong exports And Domestic Consumption
It has been a good year so far for US poultry farms. US poultry production is on the rise with chicken meat production on track to meet end-of-year expectations, a 1.7% increase from 2016. The main reason for the growth is due to an increase in slaughter numbers. Despite a poor start in the first quarter of 2017, the total US poultry exports for the year-to-date up are up by 4.3% compared to last year. This increase is the result of America having a bigger market share exporting to countries such as Angola and South Africa while other exporters have to deal with Avian Influenza-related export bans.
Call It Squab (Not Pigeon) And It Sells
One of the impacts of millennials becoming the largest consumer group in the US is the rise in popularity of foods previously unknown to American palettes. Poultry has contributed to the increase as people took an interest in game birds to use in food dishes. Birds such as pheasant, quail, guinea hen, and others have become a frequent inclusion on urban menus. You can even find French dishes such as Squab with Bacon-Wrapped Plums & Frisée and Roasted Quail with Figs. Whole Foods also boasts such game birds though that they sell it under “goose, duck, pheasant, Cornish hens, and quail.” Something to remember though is the importance of the name: consumers are far more likely to buy squab, but not pigeon.
All cultures and religions eat poultry. It is a dynamic and healthy food that people from all over the world consume, from the French Coq Au Vin to Indonesia’s Chicken Satay. Expect a bright future for poultry moving forward in 2018.