U.K. Meat Consumption Levels Were at a Record Low in 2022

Less meat was consumed in the U.K. in 2022 than in any other year since records started being kept, back in the 1970s.

Data released by the U.K. government showed Brits ate less meat in the year than at any point since 1974. According to The Guardian, the average Brit only consumed 1.88 lbs. of meat each week in 2022, a drop from 2.15 lbs. per week in 2021.

Weekly meat consumption has decreased in the U.K. by 14% since 2012. The consumption of beef, pork and lamb is down 26% over that period while chicken and other meat products have experienced an 11% decline in consumption.

Minced beef consumption levels were their lowest since 1999.

Fish consumption was also down year-over-year, with the average person eating 0.29 lbs. of fish weekly compared to 0.32 lbs. before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The drop in meat consumption could be related to the rising costs of certain food items, like beef steak (up 10% over the year) and whole chickens (up 9% over the year).

Less meat being consumed actually aligns with the U.K.’s national food strategy, explained Dr. Mike Clark, a senior research associate of food at the Oxford Smith School.

“The U.K. national food strategy recommends a 30% reduction in meat consumption by 2032, while the Climate Change Committee recommends a 35% reduction in meat consumption,” Dr. Clark said. “Meeting either of the above targets requires a doubling in the rate of meat reduction compared with the rate from the last 10 years.”

Dr. Clark also said that he believes that COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine could be the cause of this recent drop, meaning that last year’s decline might “be a one-year event.”