Turkey’s meat consumption drops by half in five years

With rampant inflation and the ongoing economic crisis in Turkey, a family of four has reduced its annual consumption of red meat to 28 kg, from 2017’s 56 kg, according to figures from Red Meat Industry and Producers Association (ETBİR).

Average price per kilo for red meat rose to 111.53 liras ($6.46) from 2017’s 40.73 liras, while the minimum wage rose to 5,500 liras ($318) from 1,404 liras ($390 at the time), daily Sözcü said citing Turkey’s Statistics Institute (TÜİK) figures. According to the newspaper, prices in supermarkets can more than double those TÜİK provides.

The big drop in meat consumption came when the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold in the country, ETBİR chairman Ahmet Yücesan told Sözcü. The first drop was due to restricted access to shops for the most part, according to the industry lead.

“But then the rising prices and declining purchasing power started to affect consumption. In the two years since, it has not picked back up,” Yücesan said.

Demand has dropped by 35 percent in the first six months of 2022, he said, while production costs rose by more than 150 percent, leading to a 110 percent rise in product prices.

The Islamic holiday of sacrifice Eid al Adha is observed this weekend, further reducing demand for meat as most of the country participate in the festivities and thus have higher stocks of meat than the rest of the year.

The continued fall in demand may result in producers reflecting the rise in costs to consumer prices later, in October.

Meanwhile, the rise in dairy production costs have led to manufacturers sending dairy cows to slaughter. Yücesan said the reduced number of dairy cows may lead to further price hikes in the second half of 2022. “The dairy farmer must be compensated,” he said.

Turkey’s inflation has accelerated to 78.6 percent in July, while food prices have almost doubled compared to last year with a 93.9 percent increase.

Unofficial inflation figures calculated by a group of academics show inflation at 175.6 percent.

Rising rates of poverty have already resulted in stunted development for children of low-income families in the country.

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