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BUENOS AIRES: A butcher cuts beef for ‘milanesas’ (breaded filet) at a shot in the Central Market of Buenos Aires.- AFP
BUENOS AIRES: A butcher cuts beef for ‘milanesas’ (breaded filet) at a shot in the Central Market of Buenos Aires.- AFP

Beef consumption in Argentina plummets

BUENOS AIRES: Beef consumption in Argentina - one of the world’s top producers and consumers of the meat - has fallen to near-record levels amid a biting economic crisis, an industry body said. In the first quarter of 2024, beef consumption dropped to its lowest level in three decades, according to the CICCRA meat industry chamber. This amounted to nearly 10 kilograms (22 pounds) less per person, per year. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Argentina has some of the world’s most carnivorous inhabitants - until recently consuming nearly 50 kilograms (110 pounds) per person, per year.

The South American country is battling an economic crisis that has seen purchasing power slashed in four months under self-declared “anarcho-capitalist” President Javier Milei and his budget-cutting measures. Poverty affects nearly 60 percent of Argentina’s population. Year-on-year inflation is at more than 280 percent. For beef, the annual price increase was 278 percent in March.

Butcher Carlos Principe told AFP in Buenos Aires he now sells more cheap cuts of meat and said his sales dropped by 25 percent in the first quarter of this year. “Consumption went down a lot,” the 75-year-old said. Argentine beef exports, meanwhile, increased by 22.9 percent in March from the year before. Beef consumption in Argentina has been declining year after year from about 78 kilograms (172 pounds) per capita in the 1980s. Meanwhile, consumption of cheaper meats such as pork and poultry has doubled in the last 30 years. — AFP

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