Meat consumption is declining at great rates and with a new USDA dietary guideline around the corner, the ‘death of meat’ could be impending so investors are adjusting their portfolio accordingly.
According to the online investing guide Street Authority, people holding stock in meat producers should beware and consider how the rising number of vegetarians could impact their finances.
“Doctors have been warning about greater cancer and other health risks from eating too much red meat for quite some time, and people finally got the message and have started cutting back,” reads the editorial published at the end of January. “The downward consumption trend could soon accelerate, with major negative implications for the meat industry.”
The Department of Agriculture reports that current meat consumption is 101 pounds, a 15 percent decrease in the last ten years and two thirds of what it once was in the 1970s.
The numbers are expected to lower even more once the USDA dietary guidelines for 2015 are published. According to the Washington Post, a draft of it encourages people to eat more of a plant-based diet since it has a much lower impact on the environment.
While the meat industry lobby might get that part erased from the guidelines, it does match the research that shows how detrimental a meat-based diet can be to the planet. Beef takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce each pound, tremendous amounts of grains are needed to raise livestock and the production of milk, eggs and poultry also have a heavy carbon footprint.
If no political shenanigans get in the way and the guidelines do get published promoting less meat consumption, it would be the first time that has happened as currently the guidelines promote eating of lean meats.
As for meat producers and those holding stock for them, they shouldn’t only be prepared for the general public to follow the government’s advice but for a whole new generation of vegetarians that could grow up eating less or no meat in public schools. On top of the domestic shift, experts also estimate that the guidelines could have an impact in other nations where meat consumption is actually on the rise leading to the ‘death of meat.’