How Much Beef is Consumed in the US? A Look at Beef Consumption Statistics

Beef is a staple food for many Americans, prized for its hearty flavor and versatility. But how much beef does the average American actually eat? Here’s a comprehensive look at beef consumption statistics in the United States.

Total Beef Consumption

  • In 2021, total beef consumption in the US reached 30 billion pounds, an all-time high. This was an increase of 8.7% from 2020.

  • Over the past 20 years, total annual beef consumption has ranged from a low of 26 billion pounds in 2014 to a high of 30 billion pounds in 2021.

  • Factors impacting total beef consumption include domestic production levels, import and export volumes, and consumer demand.

Per Capita Beef Consumption

  • Looking at individual consumption, in 2022 the average American ate 59.1 pounds of beef per year.

  • Over the 2000-2022 period, per capita beef consumption peaked at 65.7 pounds in 2007.

  • The lowest per capita beef consumption in recent decades was 54.8 pounds in 2014.

  • Per capita consumption is expected to continue declining gradually over the next decade, dropping to 57.6 pounds per person by 2033.

Key Demographics for Beef Consumption

  • Men consume more beef than women, averaging 69.2 pounds per year compared to 49.1 pounds for women (as of 2020).

  • Middle-aged adults eat the most beef. Consumption peaks between the ages of 40-59, then declines in older age groups.

  • Households with higher incomes eat more beef on average. The highest income bracket consumes 33% more beef than the lowest income group.

  • Beef consumption also varies by region, with the Midwest eating the most per capita at 65 pounds annually.

Factors Influencing Beef Consumption Trends

Several key factors contribute to beef consumption patterns and trends in America:

  • Domestic production – The US is the world’s largest producer of beef, providing a steady domestic supply. Cattle inventory levels impact available beef.

  • Exports – Growing global demand for American beef has increased exports and reduced domestic supply. Beef exports tripled between 2000 and 2020.

  • Prices – Retail beef prices affect how much consumers can afford to purchase. Prices hit record highs in 2022 due to supply chain issues.

  • Competition – Consumer shifts to other proteins like chicken and plant-based alternatives have cut into beef’s dominant market share.

  • Dietary concerns – Health and sustainability concerns have driven some consumers to reduce beef intake in favor of plant proteins.

Understanding how much beef Americans eat on a per capita and national level provides key insights into consumer behavior, food system dynamics, and the evolving protein landscape. While beef still retains an important place in the American diet, consumption patterns continue to adapt to changing attitudes and conditions.

An Overview of Meat Consumption in the United States


How much beef is consumed daily in the US?

On a per capita basis, Americans aged 2 years and older consumed 42.2 g (1.5 ounces) of total beef per day.

Do 12% of Americans eat half the nation’s beef?

New research indicates that not all beef eaters are created equal. A small percentage of the country’s population — just 12 percent — accounts for half of the country’s beef consumption on any given day, according to a paper published on Wednesday in the journal Nutrients.

Who is the largest consumer of beef in the world?

The US is the biggest consumer of beef in the world, but, according to new research, it’s actually a small percentage of people who are doing most of the eating. A recent study shows that on any given day, just 12% of people in the US account for half of all beef consumed in the US.

What is the most consumed meat in the US?

In 2022, the most consumed type of meat in the United States was broiler chicken, at about 98.9 pounds per capita. This figure is expected to increase to around 107.5 pounds per capita by 2033.

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