Shoppers are spending less at the grocery store, opting out of meat due to price.
America’s future with meat may look nothing like its past, if current trends continue. USDA predicts we will eat 12.2% less meat and poultry in 2012 than in 2007. Beef consumption has declined for the past two decades, and chicken and pork for the past five years – even though high chicken supplies have led to lower prices than a year ago.
What’s behind the meat-buying stall? Is it the expense, concerns about food safety, inhumane treatment of animals, the presence of slime in ground beef, or a general notion that eating healthier means more varied protein sources such as seafood and plants?
Probably all of the above, according to Facts, Figures & the Future, which notes the rising popularity of vegetarian diets and the Meatless Monday movement. As a nation, we still eat far more meat than our population would suggest, but a new consciousness is seeping in. A telephone Harris Poll conducted for The Vegetarian Resource Group shows that one-third of Americans eat a significant amount of vegetarian or vegan meals, even if they’re not vegetarian (no meat, fish, seafood or poultry) or vegan (no dairy or eggs either). Another 5% call themselves vegetarian.
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