For all the buzz about pea protein and lab-grown burgers, Americans are set to eat more meat in 2018 than ever before.
To be precise, the average consumer will eat 222.2 pounds (100.8 kilos) of red meat and poultry this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, surpassing a record set in 2004. Meanwhile, domestic production will surpass 100 billion pounds for the first time, as livestock owners expand their herds on the back of cheap feed grain.
Though the USDA’s per-capita measure isn’t a true gauge of consumption, it serves as a common proxy. It shows egg demand reaching an all-time high as well in 2018. Dairy items like cheese and butter have also been growing in popularity.
“If you look at the items that consumers say they want more of in their diet, protein tops the list,” said David Portalatin, a Houston-based food industry adviser for NPD Group.
Prices have gotten cheaper at the grocery store as supply grows. Chicken breast costs in November were the lowest in five years, and steak and ham are getting less expensive, government data show.
Many Americans are actively shunning carbohydrates in favor of protein, though any health benefits may be outweighed by the sheer volume of meat, eggs and dairy being consumed. While the government recommends that adults eat 5 to 6.5 ounces of protein daily, the USDA forecasts t...
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