35 Beef Industry Statistics To Know

Hey there, fellow beef enthusiasts! If you’re curious about the sizzling world of beef and what’s cooking in the industry, you’ve come to the right grill. Beef isn’t just a tasty treat on our plates; it’s a global phenomenon, complete with its own juicy statistics.

So, grab your favorite barbecue sauce and let’s dive into “35 Beef Industry Statistics To Know In 2023.” From the steakhouse to the supermarket, these numbers will give you a well-done insight into what’s sizzling and what’s at stake in the world of beef.

General Beef Statistics

Get ready to explore the beef world from the ground up. These stats will take you on a journey through the beef industry’s history, cultural significance, and sheer scale.

Sizzle in the Aisles

When American consumers hit the grocery store, they’re willing to part with an average of $9 for some prime beef for their next meal. That’s right, we don’t mind splurging a bit for that juicy steak or hearty beef stew.

The Sirloin Splurge

Speaking of steaks, if you’re eyeing that sirloin, be prepared to pay around $8.98 per pound. It’s one of the pricier cuts in the United States, but oh, the flavor is worth it.

Meat Through the Ages

Beef’s popularity isn’t a recent trend. Back in the Mesolithic era, our ancestors were already hunting aurochs, an extinct cattle species, for their delectable meat. Beef has been on the menu for a very, very long time!

The Great American Cow Count

In the United States, when you look out at the pastures, you’ll find over three times as many beef cows as their dairy counterparts. It’s a testament to our love for all things beef-related, from burgers to roasts.

Heavyweight Champion of the World

When it comes to measuring beef production, we base it on carcass weight, and the U.S. reigns supreme in this department. It’s no wonder the United States is the leading market for beef worldwide, consistently serving up a hearty helping of this savory meat.

Cattle in the Billions

In 2022, the world’s cattle population surpassed a billion head, marking a significant increase from around 996 million in 2021.

It’s worth noting that this is the first time the global cattle population has exceeded one billion since 2014. A decade low was recorded in 2015 at 969 million.

Beef’s Environmental Impact

Cattle production carries a substantial environmental burden, primarily in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

Beef herds are leading the charge, producing more than 218 pounds of greenhouse gases per pound of meat, far ahead of lamb and mutton at 88 pounds, pork at 26 pounds, and poultry meat at 22 pounds.

The staggering environmental footprint of beef can be attributed to the considerable resources it consumes, from large farm spaces to the types of fertilizers used.

Energy Efficiency Comparison

When it comes to meat and dairy production, energy efficiency matters. Whole milk tops the list at 24%, followed by eggs at 19%, poultry at 13%, and pork at 8.6%. However, beef lags behind with a mere 1.9% energy efficiency.

This means that only 1.9% of the calories in the animal feed inputs are transformed into beef, with a staggering 98.1% lost during the process.

Feed to Beef Ratio

Producing two pounds of beef requires a whopping 55 pounds of feed. In comparison, lamb and mutton need 33 pounds, pork requires 13 pounds, and poultry comes in at 6 pounds.

This statistic underscores the resource-intensive nature of beef production, notably due to the size of cattle.

The United States Cattle Count

In 2022, the United States housed over 91 million cattle, including calves. This represented a slight decrease from the previous year when the number exceeded 93 million.

The highest cattle count in the U.S. was recorded in 2001, nearly reaching 98 million, while the lowest point occurred in 2014 at 88 million.

Beef’s Place on the World Stage

As of 2021, beef retained its spot as the third most consumed meat globally, with a consumption of 71.5 million tons. Poultry meat claimed the top position with 132 million tons, followed by pork at 108.8 million tons.

Beef has consistently held the third spot since the 1990s, typically trailing behind pork and poultry in the race for the world’s dinner plates.

Beef Market and Sales Statistics

Let’s dive into the sizzling sales and market dynamics of beef. From the meat counter to your shopping cart, these figures reveal why beef is a heavyweight in the grocery world.

Fresh Beef: The Sales Leader

In 2021, fresh beef dominated the market with retail sales of $30.1 billion in the United States, outstripping fresh chicken at $13.4 billion and fresh pork at $7.1 billion. Fresh turkey added $2.7 billion to retail sales.

Beef’s Share of Fresh Meat Sales

The love for beef in the United States is evident in the numbers. In 2022, beef made up a whopping 53.54% of the fresh meat department sales.

Chicken followed at 26.38%, pork at 12.74%, and turkey at 4.96%. This data underscores the enduring popularity of fresh beef in the retail sector.

A Year of Growth for Beef Sales

Fresh beef experienced a solid sales growth of 3.2% in 2021, placing it in second position behind pork at 6.3% and ahead of chicken at 4.7%.

Meanwhile, sales of meat substitutes and other alternatives fell by 2.5%, indicating a dip in the popularity of non-fresh meat options. Beef held its ground and continued to thrive.

The Reign of Fresh Ground Beef

In 2022, fresh ground beef stood tall with the highest sales among cuts at 39.46%. It was followed by loin at 14.98%, ribeye at 12.9%, chuck at 7.84%, and round at 6.77%. Ground beef’s versatile and budget-friendly nature makes it a favorite for consumers.

The Retail and Wholesale Values of Beef

In 2021, the annual average retail value of beef was 725 cents, marking the highest figure in the past decade.

For wholesale values, beef averaged 424 cents annually, a significant increase from 2020 when it was at 363 cents. A decade earlier, in 2011, the annual wholesale value was 278 cents.

The Steady Rise of Ground Beef Prices

While ground beef remains a popular choice, its price has been steadily climbing. In 2021, the retail price for ground beef hit $4.6 per pound, the highest recorded since the 1990s, with the second-highest being $4.16 per pound in 2014.

In comparison, the retail price was just $1.4 per pound in 1995, illustrating the impact of economic factors on beef costs.

Sirloin Steak Takes the Crown

In 2021, boneless sirloin steak took the prize for the highest price at $11 per pound. The cost of this cut has been on an upward trend since before the year 2000 when retail prices averaged between $4 and $5.

Ground Chuck’s Price Hike

Ground chuck also saw an increase in price, retailing at $4.79 per pound. In 2014 and 2015, it was similarly priced at over $4 per pound but experienced a slight dip to around $3.70 per pound between 2016 and 2018.

Organic Beef Luxury

For those who seek organic beef, skirt steak is currently the most expensive option, with an average price of $14.99 per pound as of January 2022. Boneless New York strip steak follows at $14.5 per pound, while boneless top sirloin steak retails at $12.5.

If you’re budget-conscious, stew organic beef meat costs $7.99 per pound, and organic ground beef with 90% or more beef content is available at $7.45.

Beef Consumer Statistics

Ever wondered who’s fueling the beef frenzy? These stats show the spending habits, satisfaction levels, and the sheer passion that consumers have for their beloved beef.

Willingness to Pay for Steak

Despite increasing prices for beef, consumers remain loyal to their steaks. By the end of summer 2022, the price per pound for steak had reached $9.03, but consumers expressed a willingness to pay $9.20.

This signals not only a continued preference for beef but also a readiness to go above the retail price to savor their favorite cuts.

Consistently High Satisfaction

Whether enjoyed at home or in restaurants, beef consistently earns high satisfaction ratings. For steak, 93% of consumers experience high satisfaction at home, and 90% do the same when dining out.

Ground beef also proves a crowd-pleaser with 91% satisfaction at home and 88% in restaurants. Roast beef enjoys similar popularity, with 91% satisfaction at home and 86% at restaurants.

Overall Positive Beef Perceptions

Beef enjoys a positive perception among 68% of U.S. consumers, with 41% expressing a strong positive sentiment toward it.

While consumers hold beef in high regard, there are growing concerns about the production practices, with 42% having a positive perspective on beef production, 37% neutral, and 21% negative.

Annual Beef Consumption in the U.S.

In 2020, beef consumption in the United States reached over 27.6 billion pounds, showing a slight increase from 2019 (27.3 billion pounds) and 2018 (26.8 billion pounds). The highest recorded figures in recent years were in 2006 and 2007, with 28.1 billion pounds consumed.

This demonstrates that beef consumption remains consistently high, consistently surpassing 24 billion pounds over the past two decades.

Per Capita Consumption

The per capita consumption of beef in the United States was estimated at 56.8 pounds by the end of 2022, slightly down from 58.6 pounds in 2021. Projections indicate a further decrease to 55.5 pounds by 2031.

This hints at a small decline in consumption per person, yet it’s clear that consumers will continue to invest in beef.

Veal: A Less Popular Choice

Veal, derived from calves, hasn’t gained the popularity that beef enjoys. Since 2015, its consumption has remained consistently low at 0.2 pounds annually, with this trend projected to continue until 2031.

Beef’s Shopping Trends

American households tend to allocate a higher budget for beef, spending an average of $11.14 on beef alone per grocery trip.

Chicken follows at $8.53, and turkey at $7.99. This underlines that beef remains a staple, with consumers willing to invest more in it compared to other meats.

Regional Differences in Beef Consumption

While beef is beloved nationwide, the Midwest leads the annual beef consumption with an average of 73 pounds per person per year.

The South and West regions follow closely, both at 65 pounds per person per year, with the Northeast just a tad behind at 63 pounds. These regional variations highlight the diverse beef preferences across the United States.

Urban vs. Rural Beef Consumption

In the battle of urban vs. rural, it’s clear that rural areas tend to consume more beef. Rural residents enjoy an average of 75 pounds of beef per person per year, while urban and suburban areas consume 66 and 63 pounds, respectively.

The availability of direct access to cattle in rural regions plays a significant role in these consumption patterns, while city dwellers typically source their meat from stores.

Beef Production Statistics

Behind every juicy steak, there’s a massive production process. These numbers uncover beef production’s growth, international trade, and environmental footprint, giving us a glimpse into the meaty world of supply and demand.

Growing Total Beef Production

Since the turn of the century, total beef production in the United States has consistently grown. In 2022, it reached 27.17 billion pounds, slightly down from 2021’s 27.95 billion pounds.

The lowest recorded figure in the past decade was in 2015, at 23.7 billion pounds, but production has consistently exceeded 24 billion pounds apart from that year. This trend illustrates a stable and slightly upward trajectory.

The Rise of Commercial Beef Production

Commercial beef production in the United States has continued upward since 2008. In 2021, it peaked at nearly 28 billion pounds, following 27.1 billion pounds in 2020. The lowest figure in the past decade was 23.6 billion pounds in 2015.

The current figures are the highest they’ve been in the past decade, reflecting the stable demand for beef on the market.

Balanced Export and Import Figures

In 2022, the United States maintained a delicate balance between beef and veal imports, estimated at 3.26 billion pounds, and exports at 3.27 billion pounds. This indicates the country’s steady progress in growing its beef export market.

Back in 2006, exports stood at 1.1 billion pounds, while imports were at 3 billion pounds. The current equilibrium is a testament to the strength of the United States in beef production.

Carcass Weight of Exports

While total carcass weight is a crucial aspect of beef exports, it slightly decreased in 2020 to 2.95 billion pounds, down from over 3 billion pounds in 2019 and 3.16 billion pounds in 2018.

However, this decrease doesn’t necessarily indicate a decline in the industry’s performance; rather, it showcases stability and efficiency in the sector.

Beef’s Environmental Impact

Beef is among the most frequently wasted food items in American households. With its high perishability, meat products, including beef, account for 29% of the most commonly discarded food items, second only to fresh vegetables and fruit at 51%.

Food waste adds to the beef industry’s environmental footprint and contributes to broader sustainability concerns.

The Leading Beef Producing Country

In both 2021 and 2022, the United States has proudly held the title of the leading beef and veal export country worldwide.

With over 12 million metric tons, it surpasses Brazil with 9 million metric tons and China with 7 million. This places the United States at the helm of beef production globally.


Well, folks, it’s time to wrap up our meaty adventure through the world of beef industry stats. We’ve discovered that beef isn’t just a dinner option; it’s a way of life, from the farm to the table.

Whether it’s the steady rise in production, the beef-loving consumers, or the delicate balance of imports and exports, beef continues to rule the menu.

So, next time you savor that tender, mouthwatering steak or whip up some savory burgers, remember these numbers.

They add a dash of seasoning to our understanding of the beef industry, making each bite even more delicious. Stay beefy, my friends, and keep those grills fired up!

Frequently Asked Question

1. How has total beef production in the United States changed in recent years?

Total beef production has steadily grown since 2000, reaching 27.17 billion pounds in 2022. While there was a dip in 2015, production has consistently exceeded 24 billion pounds. This indicates a stable and slightly upward trend in beef production.

2. What’s the state of beef waste in American households?

Beef is among the most frequently discarded food items, accounting for 29% of the most commonly wasted foods. Fresh vegetables and fruit are at the top of the list, with 51% wastage.

Addressing food waste is essential for sustainability and reducing the beef industry’s environmental footprint.

3. How does the United States fare in the global beef production market?

The United States has been the leading country in beef and veal export volume in both 2021 and 2022, with over 12 million metric tons, surpassing Brazil and China.

This makes the United States the world’s largest beef producer, highlighting its significant role in the global beef industry.

4. What’s the current balance between beef imports and exports in the U.S.?

In 2022, the United States maintained a balanced beef and veal trade, with imports and exports estimated at around 3.26 billion pounds. This equilibrium reflects the country’s ability to sustain its domestic demand while actively participating in the global beef market.

5. Despite rising prices, Are American consumers still willing to pay for beef?

Consumers remain willing to pay for beef, even as prices increase. In 2022, the price per pound for steak was $9.03, and consumers expressed a willingness to pay $9.20.

This illustrates not only the enduring popularity of beef but also consumers’ readiness to invest beyond retail prices for their preferred beef cuts.