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Who’s Eating All the Meat? Increasingly, It’s China

10 June 2012 in Trading Ideas

With nearly one in five Earthlings residing in China, it’s perhaps no surprise that overall consumer consumption of meat in that country dwarfs that of the U.S., where the population is less than one-quarter of the size.

As the Earth Policy Institute tells us, the meat-eating superiority by Chinese citizens is nothing particularly new – China surpassed the U.S. in overall meat consumption in 1992, and hasn’t looked back.

Now, however, not only does China represent one-fourth of the world’s meat consumption, but its intake is now double that of the U.S, according to the EPI.

Within that trend are a couple of key points: Clearly, much of this is a function of population and the growing wealth of China. The U.S can still thump its chest (or maybe its hardened arteries) that each of its individual citizens is, on average, eating twice as much meat as Chinese residents.

Also, when we talk about Chinese meat-eating, we’re really talking about pork – three-fourths of the meat China consumes comes from pigs, the EPI said.

Still, the notion that 71 million tons of meat is now consumed in China every year is a reality that has impact for the world’s meat and feed producers – as does the fact that total U.S. meat consumption has dropped 6 percent in the past five years, according to the EPI. (Pass the salad, please.)

How do you think this trend changes the investment opportunity in agriculture-related stocks?