Spain: Spaniards are eating less and less meat

The Spanish diet increasingly includes less meat. Vegetarian currents, climate change or the trend towards healthier foods are dragging consumption down from 2012.

Spanish meat shop

In 2018, each Spaniard consumed an average of 46.19 kilos of meat, 2.9% less than the previous year. At the same time, prices rose, specifically 2.2% compared to 2017. The recent report presented by the Ministry of Agriculture puts the average price at 6.69 euros/kilo. With the decline in consumption, spending also fell, which with 308.98 euros per person per year was 0.8% lower than 2017.

Only processed meat showed an increase in consumption. However, fresh meat accounted for 72% of total meat consumption.

The pensioners, the most carnivores

Retirees are the ones who eat more meat, up to 41% more than the national average, with just over 65 kilos per person. Households with middle-aged or older children follow them and those of adult couples without children. Couples with small children are those who eat less meat.

Meat consumption life stage
Meat consumption per person according to life stage

Regions that consume the most meat

In general, in the north of the country more meat is eaten, although with exceptions such as Asturias. Thus, in Castilla y León, with almost 53 kilos, it is where the most meat is consumed, 30% than in Extremadura, where it remains at 38 kilos/person/year.

Meat consumption by region
Meat consumption by Spanish region

Consumption of different types of meat

Fresh meat includes beef, chicken, sheep and goat, pork, rabbit and others (mainly ostrich and turkey); also meat offal. Consumption of fresh meat as a whole fell by 3.8%. Rabbit meat had the worst performance, despite recent campaigns to increase its consumption, falling by 16.5%. Sheep/goat meat intake fell by 8.5% as well, and beef and veal by 5.2%.

More than one out of three kilos of meat consumed by the Spaniards is fresh chicken; almost 30% is pork and beef slightly less than 15%.

The exception, however, is processed meat. Its consumption is increasing and is concentrated in households with older or middle-aged children. Processed meat consumption is higher in Castilla-La Mancha, Andalucía and Murcia, and lower in Navarra and La Rioja.

Despite this decline, according to a recent statement from Greenpeace, Spain is the second European country and the 14th worldwide that consume the most meat per person per year.