The Global Meat Market: Current State, Trends, Opportunities

Nick Mirev
Table of Contents
    Thank you! Please check your inbox now for your welcome email.
    There was an issue with the form. Please try again.

    Since the domestication of animals thousands of years ago, hunting has not been the main way to get protein-rich meat to the table. Instead, thanks to livestock farming, meat has become a component of everyday life. The global meat market is among the biggest subsectors of the food industry. Retail and wholesale sales of meat and specialty meat products are increasing steadily every year. Even though one of the major meat trends in the US and the Western world has been to reduce meat consumption, developing countries consume more meat as the standard of living increases. In this article, we’ll share more about the global meat market, the trends in the meat industries around the world, and how business owners and entrepreneurs can benefit from the opportunities in the meat market. If you’re interested in reading more about the meat and livestock farming sectors check out our posts on how to start a meat business and meat subscription boxes.

    Key takeaway: The global meat market has changed significantly in the last few decades. Meat consumption is steadily increasing every year, especially in developing countries in Asia and Africa. Poultry is the most common type of meat worldwide. 
    BlueCart free ebook resources

    What Does the Global Meat Market Include

    The meat industry has various branches and subsectors. When evaluating the size of the global meat market, different research institutes might leave certain activities out of the scope of their data. Let’s examine the main categories of the sector.

    1. Fresh meat. The biggest subcategory by volume is that of fresh meats. They are purchased by manufacturers of various food products, by restaurants, and by other businesses like meal preparation companies.
    2. Processed meat. This category includes a variety of specialty products like cured meats, cold cuts, fermented products, or air-dried sausages and meat cuts. Meat wholesalers often sell a wide range of bulk deli meat. 
    3. Meat substitutes. Vegan and cultured meat products are still a new thing on the market. However, they often find their place in the meat inventory of many restaurants that wish to promote eco-friendliness.
    ordering software for restaurants

    The State of the Global Meat Market

    According to Statista, a reputable data gathering and research platform, the size of the global meat market in 2024 is 1,460 billion USD. That makes it one of the biggest subsectors of the worldwide economy. Allow us to share some of the important aspects of the global meat market. 

    Increased Consumption in Developing Countries

    Consumers in developing countries are the main factor in the growth of the global meat industry. People in African and Asian countries consume higher volumes of meat every year. That’s why the demand for meat is expected to increase in the future. The expected annual growth of the global meat market is more than 6 percent.

    People Search for Convenient Options

    People in the US and other Western countries have busy schedules. That’s why they value convenience in every aspect of everyday life. This has led to changes in the global meat market as well. For example, a growing number of households use meat subscription services. Sales of canned meat products that don’t need a lot of time to prepare for consumption have also grown. Offline sales still dominate the sector, however. Nevertheless, a lot of meat businesses that specialize in imported meat products or specialty food use eCommerce as a primary marketing channel. They specialize in different ways to sell meat online.

    Increased Prices

    The surge in demand has led to increased prices in the global meat market. That trend has been accelerated by inflation and the global increase in prices. Certain specialty products like Japanese beef have a very limited supply and various additional costs related to logistics and meat distribution. That’s why the prices of these products have grown more compared to the prices of regular poultry or ground beef.

    Poultry – Cheaper but Healthier

    It is no surprise that poultry is the most consumed meat worldwide. It is much cheaper compared to pork, beef, or other popular types of meat. Furthermore, it is rich in protein but contains less fat. Chicken meat also fits the dietary laws of all major religions. 

    New Opportunities in the Meat Market

    As the global meat market grows, there are various new opportunities for entrepreneurs. A lot of businesses search for market gaps and niches where the supply is lower compared to the demand. An example of such a niche is the organic meat market – a lot of consumers search for grass-fed beef and free-range pasture-raised chicken products.

    demo request BlueCart

    Trends in the Global Meat Market

    Like any other sector, the global meat market changes constantly. As demand shifts, businesses aim to find suppliers who are aware of the changes in the sector. Here are some of the top trends.

    1. A growing number of customers search for organic meat products. Sustainable livestock agriculture and farming are also important.
    2. B2C and B2B sales of vegan and cultured meat products are growing. However, that trend can be found primarily in Western countries.
    3. More and more people search for high-end meat products. Kobe beef and Iberico ham are just two examples of specialty meat products that are imported into the US and sold at very high retail prices. 
    4. Meal prep companies offer various ready-to-eat products. They are excellent options for people with busy lifestyles.

    Frequently Asked Questions about the Global Meat Market

    Whether you’re looking for advice on how to ship frozen meat or wish to find suitable niche markets to start a business, BlueCart is the reliable source of information. Our SaaS solutions can also help wholesale meat suppliers increase their sales and automate various tasks like wholesale price management, automated ordering, and invoicing.

    What Are the Most Popular Types of Meat?

    Poultry has been the most popular type of meat in the US for decades. The consumption of chicken meat is almost double that of the second most popular option – beef. That is true for most other countries across the world. The reason for the popularity of poultry is its lower price compared to beef and pork. Poultry farming is also easier compared to livestock farming of cattle. In the US, other popular meat products include lamb, pork, turkey, and buffalo. In recent years, wholesale meat distributors have started offering vegan meat alternatives as the demand for such products has increased.

    What Is the Role of Meat in Restaurants?

    Meat is used as a major source of protein for a variety of main dishes in restaurants. Meat products and different types of meat are found in virtually every cuisine across the globe. There are geographic differences though. Countries like Japan and other Asian countries consume higher volumes of fish meat and other seafood products. The restaurant industry in the US focuses primarily on poultry and beef. In recent years, serving premium products like imported Japanese beef has been used by fine-dining restaurants as a way to attract more customers who search for high-end products.

    What Is the Global Meat Market’s Environmental Impact?

    The impact of the meat industry on the environment is overall negative. That’s why one of the main cultured meat benefits is that it has little to no impact on ecosystems and the environment. Here are some facts about the global meat market’s impact on nature.

    • Livestock production accounts for 37 percent of methane gas emissions worldwide;
    • Livestock agriculture uses a large volume of antibiotics (around 50 percent of the antibiotic usage globally);
    • The majority of agricultural land (over two-thirds) is used to grow feed for livestock. For comparison, only 8 percent is used to grow food for human consumption;
    • 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are emitted due to the livestock industry.
    Book a Demo
    Streamline order management, grow your bottom line, and get back hours of your time with BlueCart. Schedule a demo now:
    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.