Meat Production by Country – 1961/2018

The world’s meat production continues to grow. In 2018 the total figure, worldwide is, over 341 million tons. In this article I will try to analyze the nations that produced the most meat in the world and how production has changed over the past 60 years. Meat data includes: cattle, poultry, sheep/mutton, goat, pigmeat, and wild game. Meat Production by Country.

World’s Largest Meat Producing Countries – 1961/2018

World meat production has more than quadrupled in the last 60 years. From 71 million tonnes in 1961 to 341 million tonnes in 2018. But which nations in the world produce the most meat? And how has production changed over time?

In 1961 the first nation in the world for meat consumption was the U.S.. In fact, the United States, on a total of 72 million tons in 1961 produced 16 million and a half. At the second place of this ranking there was the USSR with 8 million and 700 thousand tons of meat. In third place was Germany, both East and West, with a value of 4 million and 238 thousand tons. These are the first 3 nations in the world. But among the top 20 nations in the world for meat production there were also France, Argentina and China. China which, in 1961, had a total meat production of 2 million and a half tons. A significantly lower value than that of the United States.

And in 2018, how have the top positions in the world changed? In first place is no longer the United States but China. China that went from producing 2.5 million tons of meat to over 88 in 2018 with incredible growth. Even in the United States, which started from a figure that was already very high in 1961, growth was high. But not as high, in percentage terms, as China’s. In third place, also in 2018, is Brazil. Brazil, which in 2018 produced over 29 million pieces of meat. A figure more than 10 times higher than the same figure in 1961. Among the top 20 nations in the world for meat production in 2018 we also find several countries that were not present in 1961. Among them for example Pakistan, Vietnam, Turkey and the Philippines.

World meat production from 1961 to 2018

In the previous part of the article, we looked at the top countries in the world for meat production. Globally, how much has meat production increased in the last 60 years? Which continent has seen the greatest growth?

From the graph above it is easy to see how production has grown steadily year after year. If in 1961 it was less than 75 million tons, from the ’60s onwards production has continued to rise and, except in some particular years such as 1996 where production has slightly decreased, the growth has been continuous. To date, the figure reached is over 380 million. However, not all continents have grown homogeneously, on the contrary. As can be seen, Europe, with its green color, has a growth rate compared to 1961, but not like the other continents. If in 1961 meat production in the old continent was 30 million tons, the 2017 figure is 62 million. But compared to Asia or America, the percentage growth was much lower. In fact, in Asia it went from less than 10 million tons in 1961 to a figure of almost 150 million in 2017. In America, which had a lower figure in 1961 than Europe, it went from 26 million to 104 million tons.

Meat Consumption in the World per Capita

But apart from production, how has meat consumption in kilograms changed? To do so, let me show you these other interesting figures (here the reference is meat consumption in kg per year on average).

In all five continents of the world, meat consumption has increased. In the world, for example, it has risen from 23.08 kg per person in 1961 to 43.22 kg per person. An increase of almost 100% in 52 years. In Asia, the percentage increase has been very high. From 5.33 kg in 1961 to 32.55 kg in 2013, an increase of over 600%. In Africa there has also been an increase in consumption, but a limited one. From 13.44 kg in 1961 to 19.01 kg in 2013. Returning to America and Europe: America grew a lot in the 1990s and 2000s, reaching 86.94 kg in 2013. Europe, on the other hand, had a very strong increase until the 1990s, reaching 79.69 kg per person. In 2013, however, meat consumption per person fell to 77.34 kg.

Sources and useful links

I have used several databases, including those of FAO, to produce this article.

Below you can see the data in 1961, 1991 and 2018 for each individual state in the database.

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