Canadian meat consumption, demand declines

Lockdowns and foodservice closures curtail demand
calendar icon 14 January 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

According to a Farm Credit Canada (FCC) trends report, animal protein consumption and demand has waned in the wake of the ongoing current health crisis.

Martha Roberts, FCC Economic Editor, pointed to inflationary pressure, which has lowered income and raised prices, as the driving factor behind the decline.

"We normally have a good sense of how meat consumption patterns respond to economic fluctuations," she said in her report. "As incomes fall or prices rise, we expect meat consumption to decline as households cut back on more expensive meals."

Recurring lockdowns and foodservice closures have also been a driving force behind declining meat consumption. According to numbers from Statistics Canada, demand for chicken fell throughout 2020, and while beef demand dropped in the first quarter of 2020, it rose steadily until the end of the year.

Patterns in chicken demand and consumption have been a strong match, she said. Numbers show that chicken demand rose again in 2021. This, said Roberts, was due to the re-opening of foodservice providers, as well as higher red meat prices. Global demand for red meat was strong in 2021, and prices elevated, she said.

"Canadians’ purchases of, and preference for, beef have waned – the beef consumption index peaked in 2020," said Roberts, adding that FCC will be closely watching demand indices throughout 2022 to see if they return to pre-pandemic levels and resume growth.

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