Discover intriguing statistics about the beef industry with over 27 key consumption figures for a unique insight into this field.
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Top 10 Beef Consumption Statistics
- The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association tracks trends
- Beef prices experienced the lowest growth of all meats
- Beef consumption in the United States reached an all-time high in 2021
- The cut of beef impacts the price
- People prefer eating beef at home instead of in a restaurant
- 54% of customers think beef is a better source of protein than chicken
- 68% of consumers have a positive association with the beef industry
- The average price of beef doubled over 20 years
- The beef industry increased its profits by $34.8 billion in 20 years
- The United States is the top producer of beef
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association tracks trends (Beef Research)
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) tracks trends relating to beef consumption. The organization also monitors issues that might impact the beef industry.
Beef prices experienced the lowest growth of all meats (Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner)
From August 2021 to August 2022, eggs experienced a 39.8% inflation rate. Poultry had a 15.9% inflation, seafood saw 8.7%, and pork had 6.8%. Beef was the lowest at just 2.5% inflation, making it an accessible meal for most people.
Beef consumption in the United States reached an all-time high in 2021 (Statista)
In 2021, people in the United States consumed 30 billion pounds of beef. That’s an increase of 8.7% compared to 2020 and the highest rate recorded in recent history. With the previous note of low inflation, it’s safe to calculate this meat will continue to have high consumption rates.
The cut of beef impacts the price (Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner)
Between August 2021 and August 2022, the price of beef varied depending on the cut of the meat. Uncooked beef steaks became 3% cheaper, but everything else rose. Uncooked beef roasts increased by 3.3%, other beef increased by 4.9%, and ground beef increased by 7.8%.
People prefer eating beef at home instead of in a restaurant (Beef Research)
Many people go out to eat so they don’t have to prepare a meal and clean up after. However, statistics show that people enjoy beef more at home. 93% prefer steak at home, while 90% enjoy it in restaurants. 91% of people prefer ground beef at home, with 88% preferring a restaurant. And 91% prefer roasts at home, with only 86% choosing restaurants.
54% of customers think beef is a better source of protein than chicken (Beef Research)
Studies show that consumers found chicken the healthier protein in 2018 and 2019, but since 2020, beef has been the more popular choice. About 54% of customers say it’s the best source of protein, ranking it 20% higher than chicken.
68% of consumers have a positive association with the beef industry (Beef Research)
A study shows that consumers concerned with cattle production have a 68% positive association with the beef industry. This statistic means people think the beef industry treats cows humanely and produces meat in a way that won’t harm consumers.
The average price of beef doubled over 20 years (USDA)
In 2002, the average price of any cut of fresh beef was $3.05. By 2021, the average price more than doubled to $6.95.
The beef industry increased its profits by $34.8 billion in 20 years (USDA)
While the price to consumers doubled over 20 years, the beef industry’s profits haven’t quite doubled. However, they still increased their revenue by $34.8 billion. In 2002, they made $38.1 billion annually. In 2021, that increased to $72.9 billion.
The United States is the top producer of beef (Statista)
In 2022, beef production exceeded 12.6 million metric tons. The country houses close to 30 million beef cows to produce enough meat. That is three times as many dairy cows.
Beef consumption will change drastically by 2027 (Statista)
Over half of Generation Z are mostly vegetarian and don’t eat beef. They eat meat substitutes, so the beef consumption statistics will decrease. However, there will be an increase in meat substitute consumption, with an estimated amount of 292.5 million kilograms.
The United States always produces more domestic beef than it exports (USDA)
For the past 20 years, the United States has produced over 20 billion pounds of beef. In 2002, they produced 27.1 billion pounds and only exported 2.4 billion pounds. Even as recently as 2021, people saw the industry produce 27.9 billion pounds while only exporting 3.4 billion pounds.
The USDA tracks how many cows the beef industry slaughters (USDA)
It’s one thing to eat beef you buy from the story, but thinking of the slaughtering process can make it difficult to swallow. However, the USDA tracks everything. In 2021, the United States slaughtered 34.4 million cows for beef. Mexico is second but far behind at 6.7 billion, and Canada is even lower at just 3.7 million.
The United States exports beef to Canada and Mexico though they have the industry (USDA)
You might think the previous figures regarding each country’s slaughter imply they provide their beef. However, the United States still exports beef to each location. In 2021, they sent 316 million pounds of beef to Mexico and 279 million to Canada.
Japan is the country that receives the most beef exports (USDA)
The United States exported 820 million pounds of beef to Japan in 2021. That same year, the country sent 779 million pounds to South Korea and 540 million pounds to China.
The most beef consumed in the United States was 88.8 pounds per person in 1976 (USDA)
The USDA started tracking these statistics in 1909 and found that 1976 was the year with the highest individual beef consumption.
The least amount of beef consumed per capita in the United States was 32 pounds per person in 1932 (USDA)
Beef consumption plummeted during the Great Depression when people lost a lot of money and were unable to live as they had previously.
As of 2023, people eat 57.1 pounds of beef per year (Sentient Media)
The current level of beef consumption is somewhere in the middle ground between the Great Depression and 1976, with the average person consuming 57.1 pounds of beef annually.
Beef consumption levels by state vary based on the cut of meat (Sentient Media)
California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, and Washington have high rankings in terms of steak consumption. However, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, and Vermont rank higher for ground beef consumption.
For every pound of beef you eat, 60 pounds of greenhouse gasses go into the atmosphere (Sentient Media)
This statistic makes beef the most destructive food people eat, responsible for anywhere between 11 and 18% of greenhouse gas emissions.
India eats the least amount of beef (World Atlas)
People in India eat less beef than any other country in the world, consuming only 6.6 pounds of beef per person annually. This is especially surprising, considering there are 1.3 billion people living in India.
Cattle numbers peaked in the United States in 1974 with 134 million cows (Beef Central)
This figure closely aligns with the peak beef consumption in the United States just two years later, in 1976.
Beef helped make the largest hamburger, which weight 3,591 pounds (Rutland, ND)
In 1982, Rutland, North Dakota, entered the Guinness Book of World Records with the world’s largest hamburger made of beef. It weighed 3,591 pounds, and between 8,000 to 10,000 people helped eat it.
Americans eat an average of three beef hamburgers weekly (PBS)
It’s so quick and affordable to grab a hamburger as a meal, and PBS found that the average American eats hamburgers three times a week. That adds up to about 50 billion burgers a year.
Meat from up to 100 cows can go into one burger (Washington Post)
When you buy ground beef from the supermarket, you can get meat that comes from as many as 50 to 100 different cows. If you buy from a butcher shop, you’re more likely to get beef from one to three cows.
It takes up to 1,800 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef (Water Footprint Calculator)
This statistic means beef has the largest water footprint out of all types of meat.
Grass-fed beef has 62% less fat than grain-fed beef (NCBI)
This means you consume fewer calories gram for gram when you eat grass-fed beef compared to grain-fed.
Grass-fed beef costs an average of $2.50 more per pound(Consumer Reports)
You pay more for this meat because the cows eat diets of mostly grass. Grain-fed cows eat a cheaper diet of corn and soy.
Beef is one of the best sources of more than ten essential nutrients (Beef Cattle Research Council)
The meat is rich in protein and also contains the following essential nutrients:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
These statistics give you a unique glimpse behind the scenes of the beef industry. Now you can enjoy the meat on your plate while also understanding how it got there.