EU red meat demand remains disappointing

Friday, 6 December 2019

By Bethan Wilkins

Demand for beef, lamb and pork has been falling so far this year in key EU consuming countries. Interestingly, demand for poultry also seems to be falling back in some of these markets, pointing towards a general decline in meat demand.

Consumer panel data is available for France, Spain, Germany and Italy. Trends in these countries are explored below.


Household meat purchases declined by 2% between January and October, compared to the same period last year. Declines were recorded across the board. Average prices were 2% higher, so overall the value of the market remained similar. However, for primary red meat the fall in volume sales outstripped modest price growth.


The decline in Italian meat purchases was more muted, but nonetheless the trend was still negative. Reports suggest beef consumption has been supported by good demand for premium Italian burgers.


Spanish consumer data also showed an overall decline in meat sales volume of 1%. This was primarily driven by pork and processed meat products, which will again primarily be pig based. There was actually some modest growth in beef sales, despite higher average prices, in contrast to other countries examined.


Germany is the largest meat market in the EU, but overall household meat purchases have fallen by 4% on the year between January and September. Pig meat sales volume have particularly suffered (-8%), probably not helped by rising prices. Beef was the only meat to record a slight upward trend. German reports suggest that the number of nutrition-conscious consumers who prefer to eat less meat is increasing.

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