Per person, the US eats more meat than any other country. There are various reasons for this nation of meat-lovers, including the affordability of meat products. However, there have been changes in the way that Americans consume meat, both in which meats they choose to buy and how much they're eating. A number of things are causing them to turn to alternative products or to cut the amount of meat that they consume, including environmental and economic factors. While some people are eating different meat products, others are eating less or looking for more ethical ways to eat meat. Here are some of the ways that things have changed and are still changing.
Eating Different Meats
Some meats in America are more popular than others. Chicken, beef and pork tend to be the most popular options by far, with turkey following them. Unlike many other countries, lamb and mutton have not typically been popular choices since the Second World War. However, this is one meat that could be making a comeback. Suppliers like Superior Farms provide sustainable lamb that is also often leaner than other meats. It provides a healthy and eco-friendly option for those who want to change their meat-eating habits. In fact, a study from 2018 by the American Lamb Board found that there had been a rise in people eating lamb, from 20% in 2011 to 24% in 2018.
However, some things aren't changing so much. Despite efforts to change things, America still eats a lot of processed meats. In fact, they eat more processed meat than fish and aren't eating any more fish and seafood than they were 20 years ago.
Eating Less Meat
Another way meat-eating is changing is that people are eating less meat. They might be achieving this by looking for plant-based alternatives, simply reducing their meat intake, or cutting out meat from their diet entirely. According to a recent study, nearly one in four Americans (23%) report eating less meat in the last year compared to the previous year. Only 5% of people said that they ate more meat.
Demographics make a big difference in who is eating less meat too. People of color, women, and Democrats are all more likely to have eaten less meat, with about three in ten people saying they have cut back. People residing in cities and suburbs are also slightly more likely to have reduced the meat in their diet, compared to people in rural areas. Younger people are more likely to be vegan or vegetarian too.
Looking for More Ethical Ways to Eat Meat
Even those who are not eating less meat might be looking for more ethical ways to consume meat. Cutting back on meat consumption is one method, but it's also possible to look for ethically and sustainably farmed meat. Environmental reasons are the second most popular reason given for eating less meat, after health reasons. Concerns about food safety and animal welfare mean that some people are not just eating less meat but looking for options such as organic meat.
Meat-eating in the US may continue to change as people look at eating a healthier and more eco-friendly diet.