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ECONOMY | 08-07-2024 16:32

Beef consumption in Argentina falls to lowest in a century

Per capita consumption in 2024 forecast at around 44.8 kilos per capita, the lowest figure in more than a century.

Beef is becoming an increasingly rare luxury for the majority of Argentines who have cut meat from their diets to the lowest level in a century, a new report by the Rosario Board of Trade has revealed.

If the trend continues, per capita consumption in 2024 will close at around 44.8 kilos per capita, the lowest figure in more than a century, the study reported.

In Argentina – a national famed for the quality of its beef – historical average consumption of the food is 72.9 kilos per year per inhabitant.

The decline is the result of runaway inflation, which was 280 percent year-on-year as of May, and a deep economic recession with a generalised collapse of all activities, according to official indices.

More than half of Argentina's population of 45 million is currently considered poor, according to recent private data.

In Buenos Aires City, the nation's capital, extreme poverty doubled from 8 to 16 per ent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.

 

Beef slump

The slump in beef consumption is  part of a wider migration by consumers to other types of protein-providing and cheaper foods, such as poultry and pork, according to the report.

However, there has a fall in all meat consumption overall.

"Total consumption of beef, poultry and pork in Argentina could be around 105.7 kg per inhabitant in 2024, which means that each inhabitant would consume seven kilos less meat in 2024 compared to the average of the last 10 years, which is 112.8kg," the report said.

In the case of beef, a decline in consumption has been evident nationwide for the past decade, but never with numbers as pronounced as this. 

Exports have also been affected.

"Sixty-nine percent of beef production between January and May this year was destined for the domestic market, compared to 75 percent last year and far from the 85 percent average so far this century," the report said.

On the other hand, the volume of beef exported has increased, although the impact on income was not as lucrative due to a fall in international prices.

Thus, "between January and May [of 2024] the export of beef on the bone reached 385,000 tonnes, 10 percent more than in 2023. However, measured in value, exports only grew by one percent, as average export prices fell by eight percent compared to the first five months of last year," detailed the Rosario Board of Trade.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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