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Argentina’s Shift Away from Beef Due to Rising Prices and Inflation

by Violet Dawson
0 comment

Today, the people of the country are forced to tighten their belts to buy beef which is the staple of the Argentina diet due to the increase in prices which reduces their consumption

The people of the beef-loving country, Argentina, are eating way less beef than ever. This phenomenon is something that’s becoming increasingly rare. The consumption is down by 16% this year as compared to the year before. The country, Argentina is known for their beef consumption and is famous for their steakhouses, cattle ranchers and asado barbecues are now consuming less beef than ever. The reason for this is the triple-digit recession and inflation that is pushing Argentines to dig deep into their pockets. 

Argentina consumes beef at the rate of 44 kg (97lbs) this year as per the latest data. This number is drastically down from 52 kg in the previous year. It is also recorded that in the 1950s era the country consumed about 100kgs each year. 

Most of the Argentine homes have in-built “parrilla” grills that are used during family get-togethers and gatherings. There are lots of steakhouses at the corner of every street around Buenos Aires where the locals crowd up for make-shift barbecues for a taste of the meat. This happens even on construction sites or at protests.

Today, the people of the country are forced to tighten their belts to buy beef which is the staple of the Argentina diet due to the increase in prices which reduces their consumption. Beef intake is down by 16% this year so far in the South American nation where beef has always been an essential part of the social fabric, along with soccer and mate tea.

Butcher shop owner Gerardo Tomsin has noticed the shift and said that people come in numbers but consume less comparatively. They opt for more convenient options and what works best as per their budgets.

Argentina has recorded the highest monthly inflation that the country has ever seen in the past 30 years, last month. It surged to an annual rate of 124.4% in the past year. The country saw an increase in all prices but the food sector was affected majorly with an increase of 15.6%. 

According to a local, beef is a major part of the Argentine diet and compared to how the Italians are so protective of their pastas. They would be willing and open to cutting down on other expenses but considered beef to be sacred. “Argentines can eliminate anything in difficult times like this but we can’t do without meat,” she said. According to a report from the INDEC national statistics bureau the rate of minced meat and ground beef has risen to 39.4% in the month of August, last year. More quality cuts are also following the trend.

Inflation has directly affected the poverty rate in the country which has now risen. People are homeless in the major cities of Argentina. This made most of the families to reduce their consumption of staples like meat, vegetables and milk. 

This decline has led to a long-term shift towards the choice of other meats like pork and chicken. People have switched to alternates and opt for cheaper staples like pasta. This is becoming an economic-friendly choice considering the country’s inflation plunge shot up to nearly 300%. This came with an addition of a stalling economy with severe measures taken by libertarian President Javier Milei. The cattle owners are facing problems in the farmlands of Buenos Aires province. The drop in the consumption of beef has gotten them worried for their living. 

An agricultural engineer and the third generation who runs the family farming business producing grains and livestock blames the inflation and the economic slump. He also added that the consumers try to replace beef with cheaper foods, other types of meat or pasta. 

With the downfall in the local consumption, there is a rise in the exports but the weaker global prices have lowered the boost for farmers. The prices in the international market have also witnessed a drop. The export sector is going through a rigid phase despite the exports in larger quantities. China is known to be  Argentina’s biggest buyers of beef, though it imports cheaper cuts not used domestically. 

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