Americans eating less meat

My friend Jean (The Local Nomad) started a semi-vegetarian diet.  She is eating meat only twice a week, and going ovo-lacto vegetarian for the other five days of the week.

And it turns out she is part of a growing trend of Americans eating less meat.  According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans are now eating about 10% less meat, compared to 8 years ago.  In 2004, Americans consumed 184 pounds (83kg) of meat per person/per year.  Year 2012 projections are down to 168 pounds of meat per person/per year.

Highlights from a report from Janet Larsen of the Earth Policy Institute:

  • U.S. meat consumption has peaked — and for a society that lives high on the food chain, this new trend could signal the end of meat’s mealtime dominance.
  • Higher prices combined with a weak economy led people to put less meat in their grocery carts.
  • Corn, the primary livestock feed, has been in high demand by fuel ethanol producers  Increases in corn prices affects the cost of producing meat, milk, and eggs.
  • Cultural factors and attitudes about meat are changing. Rather than considering meat requisite at every dinner or an indication of wealth, many people are deliberately choosing to eat less meat than before, often citing concerns about health, the environment, and the ethics of industrial meat production.
  • Given livestock’s large climate and resource footprints, this “peak” in meat-eating is good news.

To read the full report and view more data charts, visit the Earth Policy Institute (EPI) website or click on the EPI banner below.

Also, here is a link to an article by Mark Bittman of the NY Times – We’re Eating Less Meat. Why?

Now that you are here, I would love to know what you think...comments are always appreciated.