OTTAWA — Watching their waistlines and their pocketbooks, red meat eaters have trimmed their portion size in favour of lighter fare, according to a recent Conference Board of Canada analysis.
Per capita consumption of beef and pork have shrunk steadily year-over-year since the 1980s, with beef recording a 29 per cent drop and pork down 27 per cent between 1984 and 2014. The average Canadian ate about 37 kg of beef and 28 kg of pork 30 years ago, cutting back by around 10 kg by 2014.
Chicken is the new king of the dinner plate with consumption shooting up 73 per cent over the same time period to 30 kg per year, nearly double 1984 per capita consumption.
The Conference Board of Canada report on the state of the food manufacturing industry suggests demographics may be behind the shift.
Red meat consumption declines with age, with Canada’s aging baby boomers leading the charge to cut back based on health concerns. Dietary habits of new immigrants, such as Muslims who don’t eat pork, are also starting to tip the scales.
But price — beef and pork margins have seen steady gains in recent years — may also be at play, with the relative cost of meat prompting consumers to seek cheaper protein sources, the conference board suggests.