Monday, July 15, 2024

Declining Beef Consumption in Argentina: A Shift in Dietary Habits Amid Economic Challenges


Argentines Are Eating Less Beef Than Ever Before

In the bustling streets of Buenos Aires, the scent of cooking beef, once a staple of Argentine cuisine, is becoming less pervasive. At a local butcher shop, workers meticulously carve up cuts of beef, a sight that is increasingly uncommon in this meat-loving nation. Argentina is witnessing a significant shift in dietary habits, with beef consumption hitting record lows.

Recent reports indicate a nearly 16% decrease in beef consumption compared to previous years. Argentines, renowned for their love of beef, are now consuming around 97 lbs of beef per person annually, a stark decline from the 114 lbs recorded last year, and significantly lower than the staggering 220 lbs per capita in the 1950s.

Butcher shop owner Gerardo Tomsin has observed the changing trends firsthand. “People keep coming, but they consume less. They’re turning to other products, constantly seeking the best prices. It’s a continual search for what’s most affordable and what fits best in their budget,” he notes.

The shift comes amid economic challenges, including triple-digit inflation and a stagnant economy under the austerity measures of libertarian President Javier Milei. With inflation nearing 300%, Argentinian families are forced to rethink their spending, impacting not only beef but also other essentials like milk, vegetables, and even staples of their diet.


As the cost of living soars, poverty rates have increased, more individuals find themselves homeless in major cities, and queues at soup kitchens have grown longer. In response, many Argentines have gradually shifted towards alternative sources of protein such as pork and chicken, or more affordable staples like pasta.

According to Miguel Schiariti, president of the local meat chamber, the move away from beef is largely driven by economics. “A full chicken can be bought for about 2,000 pesos, or pork for between 3,000 to 4,000 pesos per kilo. In contrast, the cheapest beef cut is around 5,000 to 5,500 pesos per kilo. People make choices based on their purchasing power, which is diminishing month by month,” Schiariti explains.

Despite the undeniable shift in consumption patterns, some Argentinians, like retiree Claudia San Martin, remain loyal to their culinary tradition. “Argentines can give up anything during tough times, but not meat. It’s an integral part of our diet, much like pasta is essential for Italians,” she declares firmly.

The decline in beef consumption in Argentina underlines the broader economic challenges faced by the country. It also highlights a changing lifestyle and dietary preferences as citizens navigate these hardships. While beef remains a cultural icon, the realities of affordability and availability are prompting Argentinians to explore new dietary horizons.

Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett is a seasoned business journalist with over a decade of experience covering the global economy, finance, and corporate strategies. With a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's in Business Journalism from Columbia University, Alexandra has built a reputation for her insightful analysis and ability to break down complex economic trends into understandable narratives. Prior to joining our team, she worked for major financial publications in New York and London. Alexandra specializes in mergers and acquisitions, market trends, and economic

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