Per capita meat consumption in Iran has fallen by 50 percent in a year to an average of just 2.9kg a year, meaning a large number of Iranians are no longer eating any meat at all, reported Masoud Rasouli, secretary of the Iran Meatpacking Companies Association.
Meat consumption in Iran has been falling since 2005 but if correct, this would be the sharpest decrease in 12 months on record. Rasouli attributed the drop to people’s reduced purchasing power as a result of the economic crisis and warned that if the trend continued, more businesses would have to shut down.
In 2014, Rasouli said, per capita red meat consumption in China stood at 5kg per year but is now at 53kg, and “this shows the crisis that Iranian people are facing.”
In 2005, the annual per capita meat consumption of a whole Iranian household was 57kg. By 2019 this had fallen to less than 12kg.
Meat prices rose by an average 4.6 percent in March 2022 alone. On Sunday, May 1, the MP Shahriar Heydari said that buying meat and fruit had now become a “wish” rather than an intention for most ordinary Iranians.
Last year it was widely reported that some markets and eateries were selling bones instead of meat as a cheap alternative to flavor food with. Since then even the prices of bones have soared.
That year, in March 2021, Tehran’s Chamber of Commerce compared the annual per capita meat consumption in Iran
In March 2021, Tehran’s Chamber of Commerce compared the average annual per capita consumption of red meat in Iran – 8kg in 2020 – to those of Ghana, Tanzania and war-torn Yemen, which stood at 9, 10 and 14.5 kilograms respectively. In 2019, Singaporeans, Germans, and French citizens annually consumed an average 26, 45.7, and 57.7kg of red meat each.
Rising prices in Iran are not the result of dwindling supply. In early April, Mansour Pourian, chairman of the country's Livestock Council, said red meat production was higher than consumption, with a surplus of some 4 million sheep.
At the same time, the website Aftab News reported that one kilo of average fresh lamb had reached $8: an enormous sum in Iran, where a normal laborer’s wages might be as little as $200 per month.