Think Everyone’s Been Eating Way More Pork Lately? Eh, Not Really

Photo: SuperFreakonomics

Over the last century, the almighty chicken has been on a slow and steady rise toward national diet domination; beef consumption has been on a steady slide downward since the banner year of 1976 when the average American consumed a heart-stopping 90 pounds of it a year; and meanwhile pork has held steady at around 40 or 50 pounds per person per year the whole hundred years. According to the chart from the illustrated SuperFreakonomics that appears on the Times site today, we now consume just about as much chicken per year as beef, 60 pounds per person or so. But what about pork? It’s everywhere, right?! Well …

We’ve got bacon-stuffed hot dogs, trotter tots, and braised bellies coming out of ours ears these days, but the data says that pork consumption isn’t peaking — in fact, it’s remained pretty much constant for the last century. Well, the chart does cut off in 2008, right as the pork-belly craze was spreading out of urban areas and David Chang’s Momofuku empire was just hitting its stride, so maybe that explains it. (But what’s this? As of today on Wall Street, hog futures are on the rise because pork demand is up up up!)

And poor turkey … you’ve never really been anyone’s favorite.

Beef or Chicken? A Look at U.S. Meat Trends in the Last Century [NYT]
Earlier: Putting the Feet Before the Belly: How Pork Trotters Became Such a Thing [Grub Street]

Think Everyone’s Been Eating Way More Pork Lately? Eh, Not Really