The American appetite for protein is expected to hit an all-time high in 2018 -- led by a surge in demand for meat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that by the end of this year, Americans will have consumed an average of 222.2 pounds (100.8 kg) of red meat and poultry, per person. That's the equivalent of each person eating 800 quarter-pound hamburgers per year, or an astounding 2.4 burgers per day. The USDA also predicts that the consumption of eggs will reach an all-time high in 2018, while dairy items such as cheese and butter are also growing in popularity.
A love affair with meat:
- Government nutrition guidelines recommend that adults should eat approximately 5 to 6.5 ounces of meat daily. The 2018 USDA forecast of 10 ounces of meat and poultry per person is almost double that recommendation.
- The USDA estimate marks a 14 percent increase in per-capita meat consumption over the past 50 years, although for several years, starting in 2008, eating meat actually declined -- to 201.8 pounds (91.5 kg) of meat per person by 2014.
- Meat substitutes have gained attention in recent years, for consumers who are concerned about the impact of a carnivorous diet on human health, animal welfare, and the environment as a whole.