Tyson’s financial woes indicate that our meat-eating habits are changing — and other reports show similar trends.
The value of Tyson Foods Inc. stock plummeted 16% in early May. The meat company shared that its second-quarter earnings for 2023 were far lower than anticipated, consequently reducing projections for the remainder of the year.
A report from Reuters suggests that Tyson’s struggles signify a shrinking market for meat consumption, as shoppers who are feeling the pain of inflation are buying less meat than usual.
Other reports indicate that the way Americans consume meat is shifting. A study from researchers at the University of Illinois has shown that beef consumption has slightly decreased since 1999, whereas chicken consumption has increased substantially.
In 1999, Americans ate an average of 97 pounds of beef per person, which declined to 83 pounds per person in 2019, according to the study. In 1999, Americans ate an average of 89 pounds of chicken per person, while in 2019, the per capita number jumped to 112 pounds per person, according to the same study.
This is a promising shift, as the Environmental Working Group asserts that beef consumption produces more than nine times as much planet-warming carbon pollution as eating chicken. Per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of protein production, chicken creates less than 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of carbon pollution, whereas beef produces 50 kilograms (110 pounds). That makes chicken the most environmentally healthy meat, from a carbon perspective, and beef the most harmful. It’s also worth noting that meatless protein sources like nuts and tofu create even less carbon pollution, according to the same report.
Additionally, almost 8 million adults in the U.S. don’t eat meat at all, and there are about 1.5 billion vegetarians worldwide today, according to the World Animal Foundation — which isn’t good news for Tyson.
“Many of the headwinds experienced are likely to persist for the remainder of the fiscal year,” said John R. Tyson, the chief financial officer of the company.
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