Chicken, Pork, or Beef: What is the Most Available Meat?
What’s on today’s meal plan? Chicken? Pork? Beef? Whatever looks best on that drive-thru menu? If you’re making that choice off what is most readily available here in the U.S., the answer is going to be chicken!
According to new food availability data from the USDA’s Economic Research Service, the supply of chicken available to eat in the United States continues to outpace beef. In 2021, 68.1 pounds of chicken per person were available for human consumption, on a boneless, edible basis, compared with 56.2 pounds of beef.
Time for a history lesson.
The availability of chicken began to increase in the 1940s, overtaking pork availability in 1996 and surpassing beef in 2010 to become the meat most available for U.S. consumption. Since 1980, U.S. chicken availability per person has more than doubled.
For reference, there were 47.5 pounds of pork available per person in 2021.
Per-person fish and shellfish availability data are available only through 2019, when 19.1 pounds were available per person in the United States, up from the low of just eight pounds per person in 1943.