Demand for beef in China surges

by By Meat&Poultry staff
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SYDNEY, Australia – China’s massive and growing middle class is developing an increasing desire for beef, which will benefit the cattle stations of Australia, reports Quartz. Australia has exported to China 57,060 tons of beef products to China in the first five months of 2013 – vs. only 36,273 tons all last year.

At the end of 2012, Brazil’s beef products were banned in China due to fears of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Chinese beef imports from the United States, the world’s biggest beef producer, have been banned since 2003. Regardless, China’s total beef imports from January to April were up more than tenfold from the year ago-period. China’s beef prices have risen at least 30 percent per month for the past year, Quartz reports.

Pork still remains China’s meat of choice. Approximately 52 million tons of pork are consumed annually versus only 6.3 million tons of beef. Although China’s pork is mostly produced domestically, it doesn’t have enough arable land to satisfy demand. China’s cattle herds are declining, according to US Department of Agriculture estimates, and will total 46.3 million head of cattle this year, or one head per 28 people, vs. one for every 11 in the US. China’s domestic beef is primarily produced by small slaughterhouses.

Raising cattle in Australia and New Zealand for the Chinese market is promising, as both nations have the advantage of geographical proximity over North and South America. At present, China accepts beef imports only from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay and Costa Rica, but has started the process of authorizing Canadian imports.

Chinese consumers are estimated to consume 4 to 5 kg. of beef per person per year, which is about 20 percent of the world average. Meat imports to China could increase 3 percent annually over the next 10 years to 1.7 million tons in 2022, with beef growing fastest at 7 percent, according to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and United Nations forecasts.
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READER COMMENTS (2)

By Rudy Lin 8/14/2013 10:46:27 PM
The surge in demand is true and will continue for a long time. There is a critical need for US to work out with China on export of beef. This should be done by give and take, rather than ideology.

By alan lazar 8/14/2013 7:15:14 PM
What a great article, just what I was looking for, I was in china this summer and did not see much beef or pork around, in fact hong kong a city of 20 million has one meat supplier!!! I only saw one truck load of pork, they slice the beef so thin!!!! great artcle..