Officials from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) last month warned that predicted global population growth cannot be sustained by the current numbers of animals that livestock farmers can supply. Delegates at a meat congress in Argentina heard that beef could soon be so scarce, it could be considered a luxury item much like salmon was fifty years ago.
Henning Steinfeld, coordinator of livestock, environment and development initiative at the FAO, claims that beef will become an "extreme luxury item" by 2050 due to the increase in production costs. Additionally "beef could cease to be a 'mass product' since beef production couldn't sustain the growth of world population." He quoted estimates that human population will reach 9 billion in the next 40 years, while projections show beef growth could double in the same time frame. Steinfeld pointed out that these figures indicate that our world would see a dramatic incline in beef prices, "making it a food product exclusively for the privileged and the rich."
Meat producers and exporters attending the conference said that although supplies remain liminited current global trends are indicating that the market for meat, including beef, lamb, and other white meat, remains healthy.
Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/crustyscumbrothersontour