Meat consumption in 2021 did not return to pre-coronavirus level

Published on
October 13, 2022

The total per capita consumption of meat and meat products in the Netherlands in 2021 was 76.1 kg (based on carcass weight), almost the same as the 75.9 kg consumed per person in 2020. This is the conclusion of a study by Wageningen University & Research commissioned by Wakker Dier, an animal rights foundation. These figures mean that the downward trend of 2020 (compared to 2019) continued in 2021.

The country’s meat consumption did not return to the level of the pre-coronavirus years (2019 and earlier) in 2021. The slight increase in 2021 compared to 2020 was caused by minor increases in consumption of red meat (pork and beef), while white meat (poultry) showed a slight decrease.

Differences in meat sales in retail and wholesale channels

The almost stable meat consumption figures in both coronavirus years (2020 and 2021) suggest that the increased sales of meat at the supermarket and butcher (retail market) seen in 2020 have levelled off. However, there was a notable drop in sales of fresh meat and meat products in 2021 compared to 2020. Despite this, however, meat sales in 2021 did slightly exceed the 2019 levels, with the exception of pork and pork products. In the wholesale channel (suppliers of hospitality and catering businesses, among others), meat sales actually increased in 2021 compared to 2020. However, this growth in sales in the wholesale channel in 2021 by no means represents a return to 2019 figures.

Back to pre-coronavirus consumption?

The changes in and between the retail and wholesale channels during the coronavirus years indicate that the meat sales of these channels could yet return to pre-coronavirus levels, however this should not be taken for granted. The same applies to pre-coronavirus meat consumption data.