ARGENTINA – Argentina is witnessing a sharp decline in beef consumption, reaching its lowest point in three decades. 

 Data from the Argentine Chamber of Meats and Derivatives Industry and Commerce (CICCRA) reveals a substantial drop in beef consumption in the first quarter of this year, with figures standing at 499,700 tons, marking a 17.6% decrease compared to the same period in 2023.

The decline, described as the most significant in thirty years by CICCRA, is particularly pronounced in March, where per capita beef consumption reached 42.6kg, down by 18.5% from March 2023.

Miguel Schiariti, president of CICCRA, attributes this downturn to the erosion of purchasing power due to soaring inflation rates, which have severely impacted the value of salaries in the country.

Schiariti also sheds light on the influence of previous year’s circumstances, where a drought led to an oversupply of beef in the market, temporarily boosting consumption to over 52kg per capita.

However, with the absence of such oversupply this year, the decline in beef consumption has been more pronounced, emphasizing the volatile nature of Argentina’s economic landscape.

The economic challenges extend beyond beef consumption, with March witnessing a staggering 11% increase in general inflation rates, according to official statistics agency INDEC. 

As a result, food and non-alcoholic beverage prices rose by 10.5% in the same period, further exacerbating the financial strain on Argentine households.

In particular, beef prices surged by 9.5% in March compared to February, with a significant 278% increase since March 2023, albeit below the level of general food inflation. 

The steep rise in beef prices has impacted various cuts, with common minced meat prices quadrupling in twelve months, while shoulder and rump prices surged by 287.5% and 271.6%, respectively.

Schiariti urges the Argentine government to reassess export fees to enhance the competitiveness of the meat sector and facilitate the recovery of cattle numbers through targeted credit lines.

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