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Brazil, the world’s biggest beef exporter, is turning away from meat

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Meat consumption in Brazil, the world’s biggest beef and chicken exporter, fell sharply this year as rising food prices curbs demand. What’s most curious: more than 90% of Brazilians say they don’t want to return to their past meat-eating habits.

67% of Brazilians ate less animal protein in the past 12 months than in the year before, according to research from the Good Food Institute (GFI) and Toluna, a global research firm. While most of them mentioned higher prices as the main reason for the cut back, more than a third said health concerns were the principal motivation for changing habits. About half of those said the change was self motivated.

Brazil joins the list of big meat markets that curbed consumption amid rising prices, sparked by higher feed and logistic costs and lower supplies as exports to Asia soared. Similar changes hit beef sales in Argentina and the US, which along with Brazil are the biggest consumers of the red meat.

One-in-three Brazilians curbing meat consumption adopted plant-based fake meat as a replacement, up from 25% a year earlier. Such products are most popular among buyers that slashed meat from the diet for health issues, but are also being chosen by customers hurt by food inflation, the GFI said.

Only 7% of Brazilians said they want to eat more meat next year. In the group that is already buying less animal protein, 93% said they plan to keep their current diet or reduce meat further. “There’s no immediate anxiety to increase meat consumption,” GFI, said mentioning a promising outlook for plant-based meat substitutes in Brazil. “Those who curbs meat consumption enter a journey to cut it even more.”

© 2022 Bloomberg

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