Like 85% of French people, you must be unaware of the real players and the organization of the meat industry, and therefore of the meats that end up on our plates. Did you know, for example, that, as in the City of London, we talk about “traders” for some of the major intermediaries in this trade? More information about meat importer :
A few figures at the global level
Although the demand for meat is beginning to decline in France, it is increasing worldwide. The first meat consumed is pork, closely followed by poultry (both around 110 million tons). Next comes beef (65 million tons) and far behind, sheep and goat.
In terms of the origin of the meat, the main countries of cattle breeding are the United States, Brazil, the European Union, China and India. For pork, China is ahead of the United States. New Zealand and Australia are also known for their meat and sheep farming. Finally for poultry farms, the podium is still the same, but the Russian Federation plays an important role.
In France, on the other hand, the trend in terms of consumption is downward. It is estimated that there has been a 12% drop over the last ten years. Nevertheless, the amount of meat consumed by French people remains high (about one kilo per week). Trends are also based on more sustainable marketing and more qualitative consumption, with meat from France certified or labeled (Label Rouge, organic meat), and great attention paid to traceability and the origin of the meat. In recent years, special attention has also been paid to the issue of animal welfare, with cases of mistreatment revealed by activists mastering modern communication tools . Finally, a major issue concerns the retail trade and in particular artisan butchers and their butchery, whose once very important number is now drastically decreasing …
A complex market
The horsemeat affair of the early 2010’s brought it to light: the meat industry is very little known to its consumers, and even to the public authorities. There are many players, and some of them like to remain in the shadows.
To put it simply, in addition to producers and breeders, a whole trading network exists, and is proving to be fundamental, because the meat trade is now globalized. A Brazilian producer does not have the time, the means, the skills to market directly in France. The famous “traders” are therefore necessary intermediaries to make this complex market more fluid.
In this globalized market, producers have only one way out to avoid excessive competition and price wars. They must focus on quality and origin. Thus French producers rely on labeling (French meat, or meat from a particular region). Poultry and beef are perhaps those for which this quality aspect is the most popular, as this certification of origin, especially for beef, has become very important in the eyes of consumers who are more aware of the issue. The Label Rouge, in the French tradition, is just as important, especially for pork.