January 2: Americans Have a Fever & the Only Cure is More Meat

Diet and exercise may be two critical resolutions around this time of year, but Americans certainly aren’t changing one behavior.

They’re still going to fill their faces with a record amount of meat in 2018.

Diet and exercise may be two critical resolutions around this time of year, but Americans certainly aren’t changing one behavior. ‘

They’re still going to fill their faces with a record amount of meat in 2018.

And this brings good news in the feed space.

In what is also good news for the manufacturer of Lipitor, the average American will eat 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018, according to the USDA.

Cheap grain is making it easier for livestock producers to expand their herds once again.

Roughly 100 billion pounds of meat will be produced here in the United States. High protein diets have again picked up in popularity, and prices continue to drop for consumers.

With corn prices potentially falling to lows we haven’t seen in more than a decade, we expect feed demand to remain high.

But also expect that specialty feed grains will also expand in popularity and always be in demand.

Non-GMO corn, for example, has grown in popularity as European nations seek meat and poultry sourced with such feed. The same goes with organics and other products that are meeting the special dietary needs of millennials in the U.S.

Though they might not be vegans or vegetarians, the inputs of the process are an increasingly more important component of marketing for producers and companies selling the end products.

 

Americans Will Eat a Record Amount of Meat in 2018

For all the buzz about pea protein and lab-grown burgers, Americans are set to eat more meat in 2018 than ever before.

 To be precise, the average consumer will eat 222.2 pounds (100.8 kilos) of red meat and poultry this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, surpassing a record set in 2004. Meanwhile, domestic production will surpass 100 billion pounds for the first time, as livestock owners expand their herds on the back of cheap feed grain.Though the USDA’s per-capita measure isn’t a true gauge of consumption, it serves as a common proxy. It shows egg demand reaching an all-time high as well in 2018. Dairy items like cheese and butter have also been growing in popularity.

 “If you look at the items that consumers say they want more of in their diet, protein tops the list,” said David Portalatin, a Houston-based food industry adviser for NPD Group.Prices have gotten cheaper at the grocery store as supply grows. Chicken breast costs in November were the lowest in five years, and steak and ham are getting less expensive, government data show.

Many Americans are actively shunning carbohydrates in favor of protein, though any health benefits may be outweighed by the sheer volume of meat, eggs and dairy being consumed. While the government recommends that adults eat 5 to 6.5 ounces of protein daily, the USDA forecasts the average person will down almost 10 ounces of meat and poultry each day in 2018.

It’s a sharp turnaround from 2007 through 2014, a time when per-capita meat and poultry demand slumped 9 percent as rising corn-based ethanol demand and a drought sent commodity prices sharply higher. Though cattle and hogs are now far cheaper than their 2014 peak, prices have staged a rebound. U.S. meat exports have soared as the global economy improves, outpacing the gains in domestic demand.

Most-active cattle futures in Chicago rose 4.7 percent in 2017, the first gain in three years, and hogs climbed 8.5 percent. Cash livestock prices may fall in 2018, the USDA forecasts.

Meat substitutes have gained attention in recent years amid concerns about the impact of a carnivorous diet on health, animal welfare and the environment. For example, Chicago-based Epic Burger Inc. last year started selling the Beyond Burger plant-based patty that mimics meat. Protein from plants, insects or cultured meat are a top food trend to watch, though the category isn’t expected to significantly dent animal product sales just yet, according to a November report from CoBank.

“Ten years from now, there will be higher plant consumption, but beef will always be king,” Epic Burger founder David Friedman said. “People are always looking to put more protein into their diets. But they want high quality and transparency in the food they’re eating.”

H/T: Bloomberg
About the Author
Garrett Baldwin

Garrett Baldwin is a content strategist and editor at FarmLead. He covers the global grain markets and public policy issues related to the agricultural industry. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Economic Policy from The Johns Hopkins University, an MS in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, and an MBA in Finance from Indiana University.