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How Much Meat Do We Need Per Person?


beef serving

StatsCan indicates that we eat about 63 kilograms of red meat annually as of 2001. That’s 138 pounds.

Will Taft indicates that the average American eats over 200 pounds per year, as does the Huffington Post.

Pasture to Plate says the average BC’er easts 30 pounds per year, but what is average, and does it include vegans?

Michael Bloch at Green Living Tips says Canadians eat about 48 kilos of meat per year, but that was a 1969 figure.

There’s a big dif between 30 pounds and 200 pounds, or even the 138 pounds from Stats Canada. Which is right?

I know I’ve looked at what I feed my dog, Scout. He’s on a raw food diet and eats mostly meat, with some bone and veggies (and yeah, it works great). He eats a little less than one pound per day, which is pretty standard according to the BARF people (BARF means “bones and raw food” btw).

We looked earlier at a meat breakdown that gave us about 600 pounds of carcass weight and 420 pounds of useable beef off a 1000 pound on the hoof steer. If I want to feed Scout organic beef, and plan on giving him only the cuttings, I can use something less than the dif between the 600 and 420. Let’s say 100 pounds of usable scrap from the steer (trim meat, not huge leg bones). I need three steers of scrap for the dog alone. In fact, if I give him 1 pound per day from the 420, I’m only left with 55 pounds of meat. (I better keep the T-Bones, I guess).

Of course, Scout eats about 80% meat, even if he’s only 1/3 my size.

30 pounds a year means 120 1/4 pound hamburgers. If you eat the equivalent of 1 hamburger every 3 days then 30 pounds is about right.

If you eat red meat 3 to 4 times a week its going to be higher than that. The Cleveland Clinic’s Heart and Vascular Health & Prevention page says a “serving” of meat is 3 ounces. Ellen’s Kitchen recommends 6 ounces per person.

Go with 4.5 ounces, 4 times per week, and that adds up to just over 1 pound per week, or 52 pounds per year.

420 pounds of useable beef divided by 52 pounds equals 8 people per steer. A two person family (without a dog like Scout) needs 1/4 of a steer. A four person family needs half a steer.

Track what you go through each week and see if it corresponds with my numbers. If so we have a pretty good idea of how many steers we’ll need for how many people.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around renaissance man based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, playing guitar and hockey, real estate and the Chilcotin. My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.


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