Inflation could bring down US lamb consumption this year

The US sheep and lamb industry saw historically high prices in 2021, but inflation could hinder producers from reaping the benefits of those prices again this year.

American Sheep Industry Association Executive Director Peter Orwick tells Brownfield more consumers turned to lamb during the COVID-19 pandemic when other meats were unavailable and have continued to keep it on their grocery lists.

“Very strong demand, as per capita consumption of lamb in America is the highest it has been in 30 years. So along with that demand, it is pulling very positive prices for lamb meat.”

But, with inflation on the rise, Orwick says it remains to be seen if consumers will continue to spend their money on lamb.

“So, are consumers going to be spending more on things like gasoline? Or are they going to continue to pay more at the grocery store? We will probably see some sort of fall-out from that situation.”

The 2021 Sheep Industry Review released this month shows per capita lamb consumption was 1.36 pounds per person in 2021, the highest level since the early 1990’s. In response to domestic demand for lamb and record lamb prices, lamb and mutton imports also hit a record high in 2021 at 364 million pounds.

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