Covid-19 Impact on Meat in the Food and Beverage Industry

Covid-19 Impact on Meat in the Food and Beverage Industry

  • Food & Beverage
  • May 14, 2020

The meat industry is largest segment of food industry. The growing demand for the high valued animal protein has brought an increasing pressure on the livestock sector since long. It has been observed that this sector is growing with unpredicted growth rate due to certain driving factor such as increase in population, rising income and increasing urbanization. According to WHO, the meat production is projected annually with an increase to 376 million tons by 2030 from 218 million tons in 1997-1999.

But last year during starting year of 2020, pandemic crises started that has raise the question on the meat industry and the practices. The crises is not new to this industry because there were number of problems the industry has faced where its demand has fallen down and they were “Mad Cow” in 2005, SARS in the year 2003, and another in 2005 which was ”Bird Flu”. All these endemic and pandemic in last few decades have impacted the meat industry badly.

Recently the COVID-19 has entered into the market and it has disrupted the meat market and pulled it in decreasing manner. This has majorly changed the consumer behavior, impacted the supply chain and also made international trade complicated. The major reason for such changes is lockdown in all countries across the world.

In China, coronavirus has impacted the meat market badly during the lunar new year which is a peak season for the meat (red meat) consumption. Due to the lockdown of hit ports and the meat processing facilities by the government, it has not only disrupted the production of local meat but also affected the revenue generation of country due to lack in the import.

During the 2020, in U.S. outbreak of the virus took place in various factories of meat processing and meat packing. It has affected large number of plants and led into closure of the number of factories and ultimately posed to significant threat on the food supply.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, the global chicken meat trade has fallen by 4.0% to 11.7 million tons on the downward revisions for all major exporters except Brazil. Due to this, the global chicken meat trade will get shrink by 1.0% from the last year.

Due to the lockdown, the supply chain imbalance has risen and this ultimately has impacted the consumption pattern globally. The below table shows the consumption pattern of meat regionally or country wise:

Table 1: Consumption of meat, 1,000 Metric Tons (2018-2020)

Country /Region 2018 2019 2020 (Jan) 2020 (April
European Union 11,537 11,636 11,700 11,180
Brazil 9,671 9,865 11,175 9,903
India 4,059 4,347 4,900 3,998
Argentina 1,955 2,021 2,066 2,035
Thailand 2,354 2,459 2,500 2,000

Source : USDA

From the above table, it is clearly visible that COVID-19 not only has impacted the production of meat in countries but also the consumption pattern.

Similarly, In India the buffalo meat exports have got massive hit by the coronavirus outbreak falling approximately 50.0% to around 50,000 tons in the last one month of the 2020. According to the data from Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), buffalo meat exports got decrease by 10.04 lakh tons in the April-January period of 2019-20 as compared to in 2018-19 where it was 12.3 lakh tons.

In the current scenario, it is not possible to forecast that what will happen on the global meat market in future as it totally depends on the control of the COVID-19. If countries will be able to control the outbreak of the COVID-19 soon, it the market will definitely regain its position in market.

As of now, depending on the situation industries should be more focused on the health of the worker and the consumers. The industries, if they are open for the meat processing right now should take all safety measures in their factories or plant and at the same time, they should put pressure on the authorities to allow the supply chain moving with guidelines so that the supermarket/ hypermarket shelves get the meat on time.

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