In Australia, we are increasingly turning to chicken in place of beef.
A new study has found that in Australia’s main cities, restaurants are turning away customers from meat, with some locals eating more than twice as many chickens as before.
A large study by Australia’s leading poultry producers, which surveyed about 1,000 customers, found that while the average Australian ate three chickens a day, in the city of Perth, where the study was conducted, there were almost twice as often as in Sydney and Melbourne the number of customers eating more chickens was two.
“It’s pretty shocking,” said Peter Stolz, managing director of The Poultry Co-op in Sydney.
The study was carried out by researchers at the University of NSW, with funding from the Australian Meat Institute and the Australian Veterinary Medicines and Pharmaceuticals Association.
More than a third of Australians surveyed said they had stopped eating meat.
One of the key findings was that people who said they’d stopped eating beef were less likely to be able to afford the high price of chicken, which has been linked to antibiotic resistance.
“It is important to note that while we have seen a significant reduction in antibiotic use in Australia, this does not mean that the country is suddenly a healthier place to eat,” said Dr Stolwoski.
In Melbourne, for example, chicken prices are among the highest in the world, at $3.99 for a dozen and $8.50 for a pound, but it was cheaper than beef in the region.
Some Australian supermarkets have been stocking chicken, but not all have the supply.
Dr Stolwski said he did not expect Australians to be eating more meat in their food for much longer.
Instead, it was likely to get worse, he said.
Australian chicken imports, imported from the United States, have been on a steady decline, but the number has dropped significantly over the last three years.
Australia has a significant poultry sector, but this has not always been as prominent as it is today, he added.
It’s about the environment, the environment is really the biggest issue, he explained.
And while some restaurants are selling chicken for about $1 a kilogram, some are selling it for about twice that.
That’s partly because people are eating less chicken, Dr Stolski said.
“It’s just the way it is, there’s a lot of pressure on people to go out and buy meat, which means there’s less opportunity to do it yourself,” he said, adding that the environment was the biggest concern.
As Australia grows wealthier, more people are choosing to eat meat, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
There are more than 7 million Australian households who eat meat.
The study found that one of the most common reasons for not eating meat is the cost, with more than half of Australians saying they were struggling to afford it.