Americans are known for a lot of things, some nice and some not so nice. But one thing is for sure: Americans love food. Based on the U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), 233.28 million Americans used Mexican food and ingredients in 2017. It’s difficult to identify an entire nation’s favorite food, but beef is certainly up there.
In fact, Americans, on average, eat about 66.5 pounds of beef every year — and that number could be even larger in the near future. But how much does the average American family actually love this kind of meat?
When it comes to protein, beef, clearly, reins supreme inside the average American household. According to a 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey, which surveyed 129,549 American consumers, the average person spends $244 a year on beef, a significant 42% higher than the second-highest protein expenditure, poultry.
According to Fortune, Americans are actually set to eat more meat in 2018 than ever before.
The average American adult will consume 222.2 pounds of red meat this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), surprising the last record set back in 2004. Similarly, domestic production will surpass 100 billion pounds for the first time ever, as livestock owners expanded their herds due to cheap feed grain.
“If you look at the items that consumers say they want more of in their diet, protein tops the list,” added David Portalatin, a food industry advisor in Houston.
In recent years, it looked like the beef industry was going to take a major backseat to other proteins, especially between 2007 and 2014. During that time, the per-capita meat demand slumped 9%. Even meat substitutes began gaining popularity during that time period. But those trends couldn’t sustain as U.S. meat exports soared and cattle livestock futures continue to rise.
“People are always looking to put more protein into their diets. But they want high quality and transparency in the food they’re eating,” said David Friedman of Epic Burger. “Beef will always be king.”