By Comunicaciones

In order to meet the growing demand from an ever-increasing world population of 7.8 billion people – various estimates place the world population at 8.6 billion by 2030 – agrifood systems will have to increase their production by approximately 70%. Moreover, after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, world per capita income is expected to recover and continue to grow over the next decade, especially in developing countries, such as those in Asia, some regions of Africa and, to a lesser extent, in Latin America and the Caribbean, which will bring about a change in the consumption pattern of the population, generating new pressures on the production of higher-value foods.

This is the case of animal proteins, such as meats – beef, pork, poultry and others – or dairy products. In the case of meat, although the demand for red meat is weakening in high-income countries, which are in the process of substituting red meat for white meat, demand will be driven by demographic and income growth in other regions.

Studies indicate that when the per capita income of a country is higher than 40 thousand dollars a year, an increase in income does not bring with it an increase in meat consumption, a situation that occurs in only a small group of countries, such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, Australia and Norway, among others. The opposite is true for some countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, where an increase in the income of the population results in a more than proportional increase in the demand for meat.

It is estimated that in order to cover the new demand for meat, the supply will reach 377 million tons by 2031. As for poultry meat, consumption is expected to reach 154 million tons by the same year, almost half of the additional meat consumed, driven by the increase in demand in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Peru, which is expected to become the second largest per capita consumer of this type of meat.

As for pork, it is estimated that consumption will increase by 129 million tons by 2031, with Europe being the main pork consuming region, even though, due to lower costs and a perception that it is better for health, it is increasingly losing ground to poultry meat. Beef consumption will increase to 76 million tons in the same period, although per capita consumption has been declining since 2007. Only in Asia, and specifically in Southeast Asia, is per capita beef consumption expected to increase. In the case of China, per capita beef consumption is expected to increase by 10% in the next 10 years, after having grown by more than 50% in the past decade. On the other hand, in the Americas and Oceania, regions where the preference for beef is the highest in the world, per capita consumption is expected to fall in countries such as Argentina, Canada, Brazil and even more in Oceania. Finally, it is expected that sheep meat consumption, a niche market in some countries, will reach 18 million tons and will represent 5% of total meat consumption, but per capita consumption worldwide is expected to continue to decline.

Of the 312 million tons of meat produced in 2020 – considering beef, pork, poultry, sheep and goat meat – 18% of this was produced in LAC. Broken down by type of meat, poultry meat is the most produced meat in the region, accounting for almost half of the total, followed by beef production with 35% and then pork with 16%. These three productions account for more than 99% of the region’s meat production.

Brazil is the largest meat producer in the region, accounting for more than half of total production, being the main producer of beef – with 19 million tons -, pork – with 4.5 million tons – and poultry – with almost 13.8 million tons. Mexico is the second largest producer of pork and poultry meat in the region, with 13% of total production, followed by Argentina, the second largest beef producer in the region, with 11%.

In turn, given the high level of production in relation to the population, the region is the second largest meat exporter in the world, concentrating more than 19% of meat exports – in value – and only behind Europe, which, it is worth mentioning, is also one of the main importers of these products. Thus, and in view of the increase in demand for this type of products, Latin America and the Caribbean has the opportunity to consolidate its position as the world’s main supplier of animal proteins, thus contributing to the economic development of the region.


OECD/FAO (2022), OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2022-2031, OECD Publishing, Paris.

FAO, Statistics Division (2022). FAOSTAT database: production indicators. Retrieved from FAO:




FONTAGRO was created 1998 with the purpose of promoting the increase of the competitiveness of the agri-food sector, ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources and the reduction of poverty in the region. The objective of FONTAGRO is to establish itself as a sustainable financing mechanism for the development of agricultural technology and innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean and Spain, and to establish a forum for the discussion of priority topics of technological innovation. The member countries are: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Spain, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela. In the last 21 years 167 regional agricultural innovation platforms have been co-financed for an amount of US $ 124 million, which has reached 452 institutions and 33 countries worldwide.