5 reasons why Americans are eating less meat

5 reasons why Americans are eating less meat

Meat producers may have to get used to smaller profits because Americans are eating less meat—and it doesn't look like that's going to change anytime soon.

In an NPR health poll of 3,000 adults, 39 percent said they eat less meat than they did three years ago, according to the NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll.

And the USDA estimates that U.S. meat consumption will fall by more than 12.2 percent from 2007 to the end of 2012. That's about 165.5 lbs per person this year, or under a half a pound a day, reports Food Navigator.

So what's driving people away from meat?

1. It's costly. It takes a lot to feed all those animals and their feed (i.e. corn) is rising in price due to corn-based ethanol production. To combat this, some farmers are feeding cows candy. Really.

2. The recession made people do it. This graphic from the Daily Livestock Report illustrates the decline in meat consumption.

USDA Meat Consumption Graph

3. Conventional meat is laced with antibiotics and hormones. Some 86 percent of consumers polled by Consumer Reports this year indicated that meat raised without antibiotics should be available in their local supermarket.

4. People really don't like it when livestock is mistreated (hi, Central Valley Meat!). The consumers that like it the least are vegetarians and vegans.

5. Americans are beginning to take control of their health, there are a host of reasons why forgoing meat can contribute to better health.

Of course, these are only five of many. Meatless Monday and USDA's recommendations to cut back on meat consumption are two others.

What would you add to the list? Share in the comments.

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