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Beef lags behind chicken in U.S. per capita meat consumption

Per capita meat consumption in 2020 may surpass 1960 record.

Lon Tonneson

August 20, 2019

1 Min Read
carcasses on hooks
CHICKEN RISING: According to USDA, chicken consumption has increased to 94 pounds per person, up from 28 pounds per person in 1960, which holds the record for most per capita meat consumption in the U.S.asikkk/Getty Images

USDA forecasts that U.S. per capita meat consumption in 2020 may reach 220.9 pounds, the highest since 1960. There is, however, quite a difference in the which meats Americans are eating more.

Chicken consumption has increased the most, according to USDA, from 28 pounds person in 1960 to a projected 94 pounds person in 2020.

Beef is a different story. Per capita beef consumption in the U.S. peaked at 94.1 pounds in 1976. It is forecast to be 57.5 pounds in 2020.

The trend in pork consumption is similar. Per capita consumption peaked at 60.6 pounds in 1971. It is forecast to be 52.1 pounds in 2020.

The data is from USDA and was compiled and published by the National Chicken Council.

You can find the complete dataset online. It was last updated in June 2019.

infographic about meat consumption trends

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