Beef is a type of meat derived from cattle. Humans have consumed beef since the prehistoric era due to its high concentration of proteins and minerals. The skeletal muscle, which is the most consumed part, is cut into pieces and then either roasted, boiled, fried, or processed. Additional parts of the cow that are eaten include other muscles and offal, the heart, brain, intestines, and kidneys. Beef is the third most consumed type of meat in the world, accounting for 25% of global meat production, after pork (38%) and poultry (30%). The largest beef-consuming countries in absolute numbers are the United States, followed by Brazil, and China. In terms of exportation, the world's largest beef exporting countries are Brazil, India, Australia, United States, and New Zealand.
Top Beef Exporting Countries
Brazil exported a total of 1,850,000 metric tons of beef in 2016, making it the world’s largest beef exporter. The beef export industry continues to grow each year, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) predicts that 9 billion people will need to be fed by 2050, which will provide growing markets for the Brazilian beef industry. Hong Kong is the main market for Brazilian beef, followed by China, the European Union, Iran, and Egypt.
India is an equally large global beef exporter, exporting 1,850,000 metric tons in 2016. The country ranks fifth globally in terms of beef production and seventh in domestic consumption. Despite a ban on cow slaughter, as the animal is considered sacred in the Hindu religion, the country's export figures have remained high due to water buffalo meat, also known as carabeef. Carabeef constitutes the greatest portion of the beef trade in India, enabling India to become the world's second largest exporter, accounting for nearly 20% of world beef exports.
Australia is the world's third largest beef exporter, exporting a total of 1,385,000 metric tons in 2016. The beef industry is the largest agricultural sector in Australia and is estimated to produce about 4% of the world's total beef supply. The beef industry in Australia is dependent on the export market, as over 60% of beef produced is exported, mainly to the United States, Korea, and Japan.
The United States (US) is the world's fourth largest beef exporter, exporting about 1,120,000 metric tons in 2016. The beef industry in the US is the biggest fed-cattle industry in the world, producing high-quality beef from grain-fed cattle for both domestic and export purposes. Due to the high dependency on grain, a shift in the supply or price of grain greatly affects beef production.
The fifth largest beef exporting country is New Zealand, which exported an estimated 580,000 metric tons in 2016. Beef and sheep are widely reared in New Zealand to provide the much sought-after meat product.
Nutritional Information of Beef
Beef is a rich source of protein mainly composed of proteins with varying amounts of fat. It is categorized as a high-quality animal protein containing all the necessary amino acids for the growth and maintenance of the human body. In addition, beef is one of the most complete dietary sources of protein that contains amino acids shaped similarly to those of human muscle. For this reason, beef can be beneficial in repairing or building new muscle tissue.