People around the world consume an average of 75 pounds of meat per person, per year, according to research by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. That includes pork, beef, poultry, and sheep meat. If it were all beef, that would be equivalent to approximately 300 quarter-pounders each year for everyone on Earth.
Of course, this isn’t equally spread across the globe: Some countries are home to meat-eaters who eat far more than this global average, while others don’t eat more than the equivalent of a few dozen burgers a year:
The high cost of meat means that people in developing countries end up eating very little of any kind of meat, for the most part. Cultural norms also play a role: In India, where the majority of the population is Hindu, vegetarianism is common.
In this ranking (of a subset of countries that the OECD has data for), the American enthusiasm for meat-eating is beaten out only the Australians — and only by approximately one small burger per person per year:
Americans are eating about 20 pounds less meat per person per year than we were about ten years ago, when our meat consumption peaked; still, it’s higher today than it was in the 1970s.
Despite Americans’ continued appetite for meat, sheep meat — that yellow line at the bottom of the chart above — does not seem to be making many inroads in the US.
Our meat-eating friends the Australians, however — who, like us, favour poultry above all — are the biggest sheep meat enthusiasts in the world, consuming an average of 20 pounds per person per year.