Meat consumption

In 2019, the apparent meat consumption in Belgium amounted to 206 g/person/day. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must be reduced. Between 2005 and 2019 (assessment of June 2021), the trend is favourable.

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Meat consumption - Belgium and international comparison


//: Average Growth Rates

Calculations FPB based on Statistics Belgium (2020), Bilans d'approvisionnement en viande, and on OECD (2020), Meat consumption, (consulted on 14/08/2020).

Definition: apparent meat consumption is calculated on the basis of supply balance sheets by adding to the meat production the meat import and deducting the meat export. The data on the apparent meat consumption are aggregated on the basis of separate balances for meat of bovine animals, swine, poultry, sheep, goat, equidae, rabbits, game meat and edible offal. The data for the European Union take into account only the first 4 categories, which represent more than 90% of the total. They are expressed in carcase weight (weight of the meat and bones). The apparent meat consumption per inhabitant is the relationship between the apparent meat consumption and the number of inhabitants in a country. The indicator is expressed in grams per day per inhabitant. For information, the factors that are used to convert the carcase weight to the retail weight are 0.70 for beef, 0.78 for pork and 0.88 for sheep and poultry. The FPB calculates this indicator using data from Statistics Belgium for Belgium and from the OECD for the European Union.

Goal: the excess share of animal proteins in the food consumption must be reduced.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 2.2: “By 2030 end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving by 2025 the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and older persons”.

The Federal Long-Term Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development contains objective 28: “The social and ecological impact of our production and consumption patterns in terms of food should be considerably reduced” (Belgian Official Gazette, 08/10/2013). Meat consumption increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and the probability of certain cancers (Higher Health Council, 2013). In addition, meat production has an impact on the environment, for example in terms of greenhouse gas emissions or water consumption (FAO, 2006).

International comparison: the visible meat consumption in the EU27 remained stable between 2005 and 2018, although a slight upward trend can be observed since 2015, while the consumption in Belgium decreased over that same period. The consumption in Belgium in absolute terms is nonetheless higher than in the EU27: 206 and 195 g/day/inhabitant respectively in 2018.

UN indicator: the selected indicator does not correspond to any SDG indicator, but is related to target 2.2 since excess meat consumption is one aspect of malnutrition.


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