In 2015, an average American consumed 95.4 kg of beef, mutton, pork and poultry. An average resident of Switzerland ate 47.1 kg, slightly less than half the amount.
The biggest difference was the amount of poultry consumed. An average American ate 47.6 kg compared to 10.5 kg in Switzerland. There was also a big difference in beef consumption. Americans consumed 24.7 kg of beef, enough for around 250 burgers. The Swiss by comparison ate 13.4 kg, enough for around 135 burgers. Pork consumption was close with the Swiss (22.1 kg) and Americans (22.7 kg) consuming roughly the same quantity. The only meat where Swiss consumption was ahead of American was lamb. Americans ate 0.4 kg of this while Swiss consumed 1.1 kg.
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Swiss ate 31% less of these meats than an average EU resident where the average was 68.3 kg a year. Swiss ate less pork (22.1 kg vs 33.0 kg), poultry (10.5 kg vs 22.7 kg) and lamb (1.1 kg vs 1.8 kg) than an average EU resident. On the other hand Swiss ate 24% more beef than those in the EU (13.4 kg vs 10.8 kg), despite high Swiss beef prices.
Despite trailing far behind the Americans, Swiss carnivorousness was well ahead of the world average of 34.1 kg of meat a year. In addition, it was 16 times the 2.9 kg average in largely vegetarian India.
Eating less meat may not be a bad thing. The World Health Organisation says both red and processed meats present health risks. It has classified red meat as probably carcinogenic (Group 2A) and processed meat, such as sausages, as carcinogenic (Group 1). Processed meat is in the same cancer category as tobacco.
Average Swiss life expectancy of 83.4, is 4.1 years longer than in the United States, where it is 79.3 years.
Meat consumption figures exclude goat, rabbit, horse, game and offal. Average Swiss consumption of these meats totaled nearly 2.6 kg in 2015. The figures also exclude fish. Average fish consumption in Switzerland was 8.8 kg in 2014.
Swiss numbers from the Swiss statistics office (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now
Other country numbers from the OECD (in English)
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