For some time, beef and chicken have been two of the most popular meats on the market, particularly in Western countries. While pork has by no means ever been an unpopular option, recent trends show that pork and the pork industry at large are growing. With an increase of pork-specific meals and the rising cost of beef making pork a more affordable and appealing choice, we could see a shift where pork overtakes beef in terms of demand.
A shift in the US
In the United States of America, the most-produced meats rank as follows: chicken, beef, pork. However, according to a recent report by news agency Bloomberg, beef is set to be knocked down to third place, with pork overtaking and settling in 2nd. Already in 2015, US pork output has jumped by 4.6 per cen while beef production looks set to hit a 22-year low. By year's end, most-produced meats should change rank to: chicken, pork, and then beef.
On a global scale, pork is the most consumed meat in the world.
Pork in Australia
While beef remains the most produced meat in Australia, pork is continuing to go from strength to strength. There are currently around 2,000 pig producers throughout the country, with an average production rate of 5 million pigs every year between them. Other facts worth noting include:
- The pork industry itself contributes approximately $970 million to Australia's GDP
- By extension, the pork supply chain contributes around $2.6 billion to our GDP
- Income-wise, the pork industry totals $1.2 billion
- The pork industry employs approximately 6,500 full-time positions
- The pork supply chain employs around 29,000 people
- Australia produces around 344,000 tonnes of pig meat every year
- A little over 10% of pork is exported
- 25% is sold through restaurants and food service outlets
- The average Australian will consume around 23.5 kg of pork every year
The growth of pork
In Australia, one factor that could contribute to an increased consumption of pork is how tastes are changing. As an example, in the past few years we've seen the increasing popularity of pulled pork, a dish that started in the US. With more and more restaurants and eateries offering pulled pork as part of their menus, and the largely positive reception Australians have had to the dish, it could prove a positive drive for an increased consumption and demand for pork.
With our ever-changing palates and the introduction of new and varied pork dishes, trends in an increased consumption and demand for pork could continue. And while another country's changing attitudes are never necessarily indicative of what will happen in another country, the growth of pork in the US is hard to ignore. Given the ways in which our tastes overlap with Americans, a similar trend could occur in Australia and has already shown signs of doing so.