Americans ate 19% less beef from ’05 to ’14, report says – the new york times

The last decade or so has brought ample evidence that Americans are gradually changing their diets, driven by health concerns and other factors.

But a new study points to one change that is starker than many have thought: Americans cut their beef consumption by 19 percent — nearly one-fifth — in the years from 2005 to 2014, according to research released on Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The environmental group found that consumption of chicken and pork fell as well, though less drastically, as Americans ate more cheese, butter and leafy greens.

The council is hailing the plummeting popularity of beef as a victory in the fight against climate change, because greenhouse gases are produced when cattle are raised.

Recipe for chicken steak with mushroom sauce The group estimates that the resulting reduction in pollution would equal the emissions of 39 million cars, or about one-sixth of the number of cars registered in the United States in 2015. Marinade for flank steak fajitas (Some of those environmental benefits, the group says, were erased by increased consumption of other foods that also create emissions.)

The research, which is based on data from the Agriculture Department and calculations using the same methodology as the Environmental Protection Agency, found that changes in the overall American diet reduced emissions by the equivalent of pollution from 57 million cars — despite population growth of about 9 percent.

Over a 10-year period, the amount of beef consumed by Americans fell by 19 percent. Marinade for skirt steak fajitas That and declines in other foods helped cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Whether we realize it or not, Americans have been fighting greenhouse gas emissions with their forks,” said Sujatha Bergen, a policy specialist in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s food and agriculture program.

The council did not ask Americans why they were eating differently. Recipe for steak pie filling But Ms. Recipe for steak pie Bergen said that greater attention to how food affected health and well-being — rather than awareness of the environmental impact — was probably driving the decline in beef consumption.

Asked what prompted them to eat less beef, 37 percent of consumers surveyed cited its price as the No. Recipe for steak pie in slow cooker 1 reason in research published in January by Mintel, a consumer research firm. Recipe for steak pie gordon ramsay Thirty-five percent of the respondents said they were eating more protein from other sources, like chicken or tofu. Recipe for steak pie with shortcrust pastry But more than a quarter ascribed the change to their concern about cholesterol and saturated fats.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a trade group for beef producers, said the main reason for beef’s decline was a reduced supply of meat, because of increased exports: The United States was a net exporter of beef from 2010 to 2013.

Another reason was increased competition from other meats like chicken and pork, the group said. Recipe for steak pie jamie oliver Droughts during the period covered by the defense council report also cut into the beef supply, said Daren Williams, a spokesman for the organization. Recipe for steak pie with puff pastry Facing higher feed prices, ranchers cut their production, and the price of beef rose.

It takes two years on average for a cow to reach slaughter size, which explains why the nation’s cattle stock is just now showing recovery, the association said. Recipe for steak in slow cooker The industry group predicts a recovery in beef consumption, as does the Agriculture Department.

The beef association said it was “fallacious” to draw a link between beef consumption and automobile emissions. Side dishes for steak kabobs Sara Place, the group’s senior director of sustainable beef production research, said consumers could do more to reduce carbon emissions by throwing away less food, particularly fruits and vegetables, than by eating less beef.

The beef industry has reduced its carbon footprint, Dr. Making steak kabobs Place said, with improvements in cattle genetics and production methods. Easy steak kabobs One-third fewer cows were needed in 2015 to produce the same amount of beef produced in 1975, she said.

“Our cattle numbers have gone down over a 40-year period, reducing carbon emissions and our carbon footprint,” she said.

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Consumption of all meats, taken together, has been falling from a peak in 2007, according to the Agriculture Department. Sirloin tip steak thin recipes crock pot Per capita consumption of beef topped out in 1976, but it remained America’s favorite meat until the mid-1990s, when it was surpassed by chicken.

The new report shows declines in other food, like orange juice and frozen potatoes, that have notable carbon footprints.

But of all the foods Americans eat, beef has by far the biggest footprint. Philly cheesesteak stuffed bell peppers recipe The feeds given to cattle are grown with petroleum-based fertilizers, and the animals’ digestive systems produce methane, a pollutant 25 times as damaging to the environment as carbon dioxide. Recipe for ribeye steak on the grill The manure, which is spread on fields or collected in large tanks, also emits greenhouse gases, said Ms. Recipe for flank steak on the grill Bergen of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

A drop in orange juice consumption generated the second-largest reduction in greenhouse gases linked to a food, eliminating the equivalent of some 63 million megatons of carbon dioxide from the environment — or roughly 10 percent of the reduction attributable to eating less beef.

An earlier version of the chart with this article misstated the name of the environmental group that produced the study. Recipe for swiss steak in the oven It is the Natural Resources Defense Council, not the National Resources Defense Council. Recipe for cooking steak in the oven An earlier version of the article also misstated the potency of methane as a pollutant. Recipe for flank steak in the oven It is 25 times as damaging to the environment as carbon dioxide, not 25 percent more.

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