Beef is a culinary name for meat obtained from bovine animals including cows and buffalos. It is one of the world largest consumed meat forms and is only second to pork in terms of volume consumption. There is a significant supply demand gap in the market due to the limited production of beef owing to various environmental and political factors. The major key driver for the growth of this market is rise in income and urbanization. Beef market is also driven by the increasing awareness of high protein consumption which is significantly met by the beef. Other factor which has contributed in the increase in beef consumption is certain food safety issues such as chemical residue and pathogen detection problems in other meat products such as pork and poultry. The market for beef has shown limited upward movement over the past five years, particularly because of increasing consumption in emerging markets such as China, Brazil and Argentina. These markets together account for over 60% of global beef production and expect annual growth of 2% over the next six years.
Developed markets are expected to face a significant rise in prices primarily due to the lower production from North America. In South America, cattle availabilities and slaughter have been rising, particularly in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, following two years of herd rebuilding. For Argentina, this process has been amplified in 2013 by an augmentation of slaughter rates in the face of higher production costs; consequently, output could increase by 7 percent to 2.7 million tons. In neighboring Paraguay and Uruguay, strong growth is also anticipated, spurred by international demand and sustained cattle prices, and supported by excellent pasture conditions. Brazil, the world’s second largest beef producer after the US, is on track to reach a record 9.5 million tons. In Asia, India, the fifth largest bovine meat producer, is forecast to record additional growth – approximately half of production goes to export.
Kosher is a form of beef primarily consumed by the Jewish population around the world. Kosher beef is consumed in accordance with Jewish dietary laws, which dictate what Jewish people can and cannot eat based on the religion, and how foods should be prepared. The word "kosher" is an umbrella term for foods that fit into these dietary laws, according to Jewish traditions. North America, Europe and Israel have the largest Jewish population and together account for over 80% of global Jewish population. These regions are hubs for kosher beef consumption due to the abundance of Jewish population. However, consumers in North America prefer kosher beef due to significant advantages such as better food safety, quality and gastronomy. Halal beef is predominantly consumed by the Islamic population around the world as any other form of beef is banned. In addition, since the religion prohibits the consumption of pork, beef is one of the most preferred forms of meat for followers of Islam.
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Ground beef was the largest consumed beef product accounting for 43.9% of global beef consumption in 2013. However, the segment is expected to lose share owing to lower fat content and changing lifestyle of consumers increasing preference for steaks. Steaks are the most popular form of beef in North America due to their taste and fat content. Steak is beef which is cut perpendicular to the bone and has high quantity of protein, fats and vitamins. Steaks in the U.S. are generally obtained from Prime or Choice grade of Beef due to the quality of beef. There is increasing consumption of steaks due to increasing consumer preference towards better quality meat coupled with growing disposable income in China.
Key regions for beef consumption include Brazil, Argentina, Middle East and Africa. These regions are expected to have strong growth, both domestic and export, that may result in firm cattle prices over the forecast period. Domestic demand in Brazil is likely to increase on the back of the World Cup and presidential elections, while exports will be driven by the continued depreciation of the U.S. dollar. Mexico was also a large regional market but the market is expected to operate under tight margins owing to high prices and lackluster demand. The key beef markets in Asia Pacific were China, India, Pakistan, Japan and Australia. China is one of the world’s largest markets for beef owing to improving lifestyle as the region has witnessed a significant rise in disposable income. China beef consumption exceeded 7,300 kilo tons in 2013 with imports of over 900 kilo tons.
Key companies in the market include Tyson Foods, Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., JBS USA, National Beef Packaging Co., LLC, St. Helen’s Meat Packers, Levinoff-Colvex S.E.C, Smithfield, Vion, Danish Crown, Marfrig, Bertin, and Hormel among others.