What does the production of 1 kilogram beef cost?


It might be hard to believe, but currently over 7.2 billion people live on our planet. Every second, 2.5 babies get born somewhere in this world. The United Nations predict that by 2050, the world will inhabit a population of 9.2 billion people. How are we able to feed every single mouth?

The growth of the international meat market

Due to the rapid growing of the world population global meat consumption will dramatically increase in the next years. In 2012, around 302 million tons of meat was produced worldwide. That’s almost 2% more than the year before.

The world meat production in 2012
The world meat production in 2012

Poultry, beef and pork are the three types of meat that are most frequently traded on the world market. If you see these numbers, it is hard to imagine how much meat our planet will need in 2050.

Meat consumption

The global trend of meat consumptions shows an stagnation in industry countries at an extremely high level and an increasing meat consumption in developing countries. Meat seems to be a world wide symbol of luxury. People in industry countries eat an average of nearly 79 kilograms of meat each year. Developing countries eat only half as much as western countries like you can see in the graphic. So on average every person eats 42,5 kilogram meat each year. That is a lot of meat!

World meat consumption in 2012

Production costs of 1 kilogram beef

It is incredible how much resources are needed to produce 1 kilogram of beef. The most important production component is water. In the image below you can see that the production of 1 kilogram of beef uses more than 15.000 liter water. With the amount of 15 455 liter of water, we could grow 60 kilogram of potatoes , 83 kilogram of tomatoes or 118 kilograms of carrots. Furthermore several children in Africa could be fed with 6,5 kilogram of crop. Another important fact is that no other animal produces so many carbon dioxide like a cow. The cultivation of one kilogram of tomatoes compared to the production of 1 kilogram beef causes only 0,085 kilogram of carbon dioxide.

An Overview of the production costs of 1 kilogram beef

Its your turn

So why do we still eat so much meat? The answer is obvious: it tastes good, it is a good protein supplier, it is cheap and you can buy it everywhere. For some people is it even impossible having a meal without meat. I also like to eat meat, but it is important for me to take care how often meat finds his way on my plate. I only eat 2-3 times a week dishes with chicken, pork or beef. Besides, I also try to buy fresh meat in the supermarket. Its always better to know where it is coming from. I know that I wont save the world with this eating behavior, but at least I am aware and conscious about what I eat.

Fleischatlas Daten und Fakten über Tiere als Nahrungsmittel (2012)


  • Job van Hardeveld

    Job is one of the authors on Greentravelife and loves traveling, but mainly off the beaten track. Besides that his passions are music, sport and visiting cool places in Berlin. He also writes about these visits on Berlin-enjoy.com. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions 🙂