Global Meat Production, 1961-2009
Total global meat production per person has steadily increased from 0.13 lbs per day in 1961 to 0.29 lbs per day in 2009*, a 120 percent increase over the last half century (currently in the US, average meat consumption is about half a pound per day). Since meat consumption in the US and Europe has only increased modestly over time, this change mostly reflects greatly increased meat consumption over the last half century in developing countries** in Asia, Africa and South America. In 1961, it's likely that most of the 0.13 pounds per day of meat was consumed in affluent countries such as the US, with not much consumed elsewhere (with some exceptions). Historically, meat has always been expensive relative to other food sources in agricultural societies, so it's eaten by those who can afford it.
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