Wednesday, 27 November 2013

What is Australia’s favourite meat?


We Australians are known around the world for our love of a good barbeque – we simply can’t resist a day in the sun with some good mates, a few beverages and the meat cooking! The stats say just as much, with Australians consuming the second highest quantity of meat per capita, losing out only to the Americans. But what is our favourite meat of all? The companies that advertise lamb have labelled it as ‘the flavour of Australia’, but we are lovers of beef, chicken, pork and even kangaroo too.


The truth may actually surprise you. According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences, Australians ate more chicken than any other meat. In actual fact, during 2012-2013, we ate more than twice the amount of chicken meat than we did lamb and beef combined. The average Australian woofed down almost 45 kg of chicken, 32.8 kg of beef and just 9.5 kg of lamb, a figure that we really didn’t predict considering how large our lamb industry is! In comparison pig meat, which obviously includes ham, bacon and pork, came in at roughly 26 kg person and its consumption has grown by 20% in the past decade.


So according to the statistics, chicken is Australia’s favourite meat by a significant margin. The global figures also suggest that chicken is soon to top pig meat as the most widely consumed animal product. What is the main reason for this? Ultimately, it may have a lot to do with the price of chicken meat, which is comparatively much lower than its red meat counterparts.


 But there are other things to consider. Chicken is generally seen as a more environmental friendly option when compared with beef, which has traditionally been seen as the go-to meat dish. Methane gas produced by cattle is seen to be damaging to the environment and more resources are required to support the farming of them. While this is passed onto the consumer in the form of higher costs (as discussed) there remains the obvious adverse effect on the environment as a result.


These factors seem to have contributed to beef consumption halving over the past 25 years. While it is still the second most consumed meat, it is clear that we are eating less beef than in previous years on a per person basis.