The U.S. beef export market continues to grow, and along with it, the chance for beef producers to feed the world and add dollars to their pockets. This booming global market is good news for many, but domestically, consumers are starting to feel the pinch. The U.S. has always enjoyed an abundance of safe and affordable food, and we Americans spend less than 10% of our disposable income on groceries. However, times are changing, and today's consumer is having to allot more of the budget toward food.
A recent article on CBS News shares one of the reasons why food prices are climbing here in America. Reporter Celia Hatton writes, "The booming economy in China has increased the country's appetite for oil - that is well known. But what you might not know is prosperity has also increased China's appetite for another commodity - meat. Now, many in China are rich enough to eat whatever they choose, especially meat. Each Chinese person devours about 111 lbs. of meat/year - not as much as Americans' 239 lbs. - but they're getting there. Name a meat product, and China's new middle class is feasting on it: from juicy steaks and hamburgers to stir-frys and even the Colonel's secret recipe.
"But there's a problem. China's approximately the same size as the U.S. but its land supports four times the population: 1.3 billion people. Year after year of drought has led to severe water shortages, and that means trouble for a country trying to raise an expanding number of livestock. Cattle need feed, and a lot of it. Each animal goes through several pounds of corn and soy a day and an increasing amount of that feed comes directly from the U.S. China used to export soybeans but now it's reversed that trend - snapping up more than half of America's soy exports for the past three years. It'll soon be the same story with corn. China's hunger is a boon to U.S. farmers.
"China's move up the global food chain impacts American consumers too: USDA warns grocery prices will rise 4% this year. China's demand forces Americans to pay more for products dependent on soy and corn like cereal, vegetable oil, meat and milk."
How do you plan to capture new opportunities in the global exports? What's your take on rising food prices? How can we continue to meet the growing demand for meat here and abroad?
But consider this: The United Nations says food prices will soar by up to 30% in the next decade, thanks to an increase in global demand, economic depression, fuel costs and weather events and extremes. But supermarketguru.com reports that Americans are comparatively in a much better position than most of the world. In 1933, Americans spent 21.9% of their income on food at home. Today, USDA says Americans spend just 5.7% on food eaten at home.
Compare that to the UK’s 8.6%, Canada’s 9.2%, Australia’s 10.7%, Germany’s 11.4%, Hong Kong’s 12.2%, France’s 13.5%, Japan’s 14.2%, and Israel’s 17.7%. Then there is South Africa at 19.8%, Chile at 23.3%, Mexico at 24%, Brazil 24.7%, Russia 28%, China 32.9%, India 35.4%, Philippines 36.7%, Egypt 38.1%, Morocco 40.4%, Indonesia 43%, Kenya 44.9%, and Pakistan 45.5%.
What’s your take on rising food prices? How can we continue to meet the growing demand for meat here and abroad? How do you plan to capture new opportunities in the global exports?