More and more Australians are eating less meat because of the soaring price of meat, and not just because of its nutritional value.
A survey by Australian Meat & Poultry Association (AMSPA) found almost two-thirds of respondents had cut back on meat intake, while others were looking for other ways to reduce the number of animals used for meat.
The survey also found more than half of those surveyed said they had lost their appetite and had been worried about how to deal with food allergies, and almost a quarter said they were having trouble getting enough protein.
It’s a problem that has been exacerbated by the rise in animal welfare issues, with more than 40,000 people being euthanased this year alone, the survey found.
“There are a lot of issues that are happening at the moment that have a direct impact on the welfare of animals, including the rising cost of meat,” AMSPA chief executive Tim Brown said.
“That’s what is causing people to eat less meat.”
We’ve had the highest number of people buying vegetarian, vegan, plant-based products for the past 10 years.”‘
It’s like losing a child’In 2014, AMSAP surveyed more than 7,000 Australians, asking about their dietary preferences and eating habits.
About half of respondents said they used less meat, while the majority said they did not eat any meat at all.”
A lot of Australians have had a big impact on their eating habits, and we have to do something about that,” Mr Brown said of the rising costs of meat.
He said the meat industry needed to be more transparent about the quality of its products.”
It’s very difficult for the meat companies to say exactly what their standards are,” he said.
The meat industry has not been able to keep up with the changing consumer tastes.
The industry has been able, in recent years, to make changes to improve the product, but Mr Brown acknowledged that had not always been enough.”
You can’t just take the same products and apply the same standards to all of them,” he told the ABC.”
In some cases, you’ve got to make it more environmentally friendly, so that the environment is not negatively impacted.
“Meat producers are looking for new ways to make meat cheaperA number of food and beverage companies have been experimenting with cheaper, less-processed meat, with some going as far as to offer free samples of the product.
But it’s not just cheap meat that has prompted people to give up meat.
Meat costs are now so high, some people are turning to a healthier alternative.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimates the average Australian consumes about 10 kilograms of meat a year, with meat used for up to 60 per cent of that.
A 2013 study by the Meat Institute of America estimated that meat could cost $1,100 to $2,500 to produce, while a study from the Institute of Food Policy and Promotion (IFPP) said it would cost $9,000 to $13,000 a kilogram to produce the same amount of meat as the cheapest supermarket meat.
Professor James Duddridge, from the University of Sydney’s Department of Food Science, Food Law and Technology, said that when you consider the cost of producing meat, it was a much cheaper alternative.”
So people are actually eating more meat because they’ve had to eat more meat,” he explained.”
What I find fascinating is that if you just take a look at the food supply chain, it’s a lot more complicated than you think.
“He said meat production could be made from plants that could be grown at a much lower cost, and would save the world from an increase in CO2 emissions.”
If you go to the source of that carbon, that’s methane, the world’s carbon sinks,” he added.”
They can be grown in the most efficient way.
“I think you’ll find that if we have a low carbon, low emissions world, then we’ll get more from the meat supply chain.”
The AMSAA survey also showed Australians were using less meat in other ways.
Almost half of people had cut down on their dairy consumption, while more than a quarter had cut out meat altogether.
Mr Brown said a lot people had been influenced by the price of the cheapest meat, which was often cheaper than alternatives.
“People are seeing meat as being cheaper than dairy, which isn’t necessarily true,” he stated.
“The truth is that most of our products are more expensive than what people are getting for their money.”
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