Noa Moussa / Photo credit: REMKO DE WAAL / ANP MAG / ANP VIA AFP 10:33 am, June 06, 2023

Inflation, ecological reasons, animal conditions... One might think that the meat consumption of the French has been declining in recent years. But it's the other way around. With about 85 kilos of meat consumed per person per year, the French have increased their meat consumption since 1970 and are now double the world average.

With new consumption patterns, veganism and vegetarianism, we might think that our meat consumption is declining, but the reality is quite different. A French person eats about 85 kilos of meat per year, twice as much as the world average. But habits have changed: poultry is now preferred to pork and beef.

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Poultry consumption increases

Over the past 50 years, meat consumption has increased by 50% since 1970. A consumption that has nothing to do with that of our parents. "On average per person, meat consumption increased until the 1990s, then decreased. Today, it has been more or less stable for about ten years. For 20 years, meat consumption per person has decreased on pork and beef but it has only increased on poultry meat," says Lucile Rogissart, a researcher at the Institute of Climate Economics.

This is rather bad for French poultry farms, which have experienced a 12% drop in production over the past four years, mainly due to the succession of avian flu episodes. As a result, foreign competitors benefit. "This results in an increase in imports from around 217 thousand tonnes in 2002 to 822 thousand tonnes in 2022," says Lucile Rogissart. The vast majority of imported poultry comes from Poland.

Cattle responsible for 11.8% of greenhouse gas emissions

Today, almost 90% of meat imported into France comes from the European Union. In a report, the Court of Auditors estimates that cattle are responsible for 11.8% of greenhouse gas emissions, and thus recommends reducing the size and number of cattle herds.