Who eats meat? Comparing carnivores and global intakes

The amount of meat people eat varies widely around the world. The Food and Agriculture Organisation Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT) website disseminates statistical data collected and maintained by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. They produce food balance sheets presenting a comprehensive picture of the pattern of a country’s food supply during a specified period.  

Figure 6.0 Annual meat consumption (kg per person) for 2011 for selected countries.

Source: FAOSTAT, 2015.

Figure 6.0 shows the lowest levels of meat consumption are seen in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In 2011, the average intake of meat in India was just 4kg per person over the year. In Ethiopia, it was 8kg and in Iraq it was 19kg, considerably lower than the world average intake of 42kg. Among the top consumers for 2011 were New Zealand (127kg), Australia (121kg), the US (117kg), Austria (106kg) and Israel (102kg). The average intake per person in the UK was 82kg, a little less that Italy and France and close to the average across the European Union of 83kg.

In general, wealthier countries consume more meat. However, there are exceptions; meat consumption in Brazil (93kg per year) was higher than that in France (89kg per year) although Brazil has a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita less than a third of that in France (World Bank, 2015).