Photo via mdzol.com

According to a report that the Argentine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CICCRA) publishes every year, beef consumption reached its lowest point in five years in 2016. Specifically, Argentines on average had 57.1 kilos of beef last year, a number that represents a 4.1 percent drop compared to the year before and is the lowest since 2011, when the average was 55 kilos per capita.

Moreover, the report indicated that 91.8 percent of the meat produced in the country during 2016 was consumed within its borders.

Miguel Schiariti, head of the CICCRA, explained that the Argentine population have changed their meat-eating habits throughout the last decade: chicken and pork consumption rose from around 16 kg to 49 kg, and from around 8 kg to 16 kg a year. He added, “the intake dropped because both production and breeding have fallen, while prices have gone up.”

In 2016, the industry produced 2.667 million tons of beef, showing a 2.2 percent drop compared to the previous year. However, the number of cattle available for production dropped a 2.9 percent in comparison with the same year. According to Clarín, the difference can be explained by the producers’ decision to hold off on selling female cattle hoping demand will rise in 2017.

By November 2016, the industry exported 13.006 tons of meat, a 38.2 percent increase compared to the same month in 2015. Year sales amounted to US $888.5 million, a number that is 8.2 percent higher than 2015.

The report emphasizes how both the local and international macroeconomic contexts make the Argentinian industry less competitive, but explains that the national Government has helped exports by bringing back tax refunds. Although the 3.5 percent tax refunds helped, the measure was cushioned partly because of the drop in beef prices in places like Brazil, Uruguay and New Zealand. The industry is now fighting to double that percentage.