Fast facts

Meat and red meat consumption

  • Australians eat 130 grams of meat per day, which includes beef, lamb, pork and chicken.
  • Of the total amount of meat consumed, 57g/day of beef, lamb and pork is consumed, defined as ‘red meat’ in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. This is just under the recommended 65g/day.

Fresh versus processed

  • More fresh meat than processed meat is consumed in Australia, with 80% of the 130g/day of meat eaten from the fresh meat category.
  • Beef, lamb and chicken are predominantly consumed as fresh meat whereas more pork is consumed as ham and bacon (9.7g/day) than as fresh meat (7g/day).

Popular choices

  • The most commonly consumed fresh meats are poultry (45%) and beef (39%) followed by lamb (9%) and then pork (7%). Consumption of game meats such as kangaroo and venison and organ meats, including liver paste, is low to negligible.
  • The most commonly consumed processed meat products include sausages (38%), ham and bacon (36%), followed by luncheon meats (11%), salami (7%), frankfurts (4%) and nuggets (<1%). These products are defined as ‘discretionary’ products in the Australian Dietary Guidelines, except for reduced fat and salt varieties.

About the data

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is responsible for collecting dietary intake data and has conducted several surveys over the years. The most recent, the 2011–13 Australian Health Survey (AHS), is the largest and most comprehensive health survey ever conducted in Australia involving over 12,000 participants. The nutrition component is the first national nutrition survey of adults and children (aged two years and over) conducted in over 15 years.

Meat intake is reported for single ingredients and for mixed meals, however, the weight of the latter represents the entire dish. The data described in Table 1 is derived from a secondary analysis which extracted the amount of meat only from mixed meals to gain a better understanding of actual meat intake which was conducted by the University of Sydney and funded by MLA. More information about the NNPAS can be found on the ABS website.

Table 1: Mean per capita intake (grams per day) for all persons (2+ years) of fresh meats
Beefa 40.0
Lambb 9.6
Game meatc 0.4
Pork 7.0
Poultryd 46.2
Organ meats (includes liver paste) 0.0
Sausagese 10.2
Ham 5.0
Bacon 4.7
Luncheon meatsf 3.0
Salami and other fermented meatsg 1.8
Frankfurt/Saveloy 1.1
Canned meat 0.6
Nuggets 0.2
  1. Includes some veal.
  2. Includes some mutton.
  3. Mainly kangaroo with venison, rabbit and goat.
  4. Mainly chicken with some turkey and duck.
  5. Includes mixed meat and beef, pork, lamb and chicken sausages. Sausage composition is regulated under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code where they are defined as meat that is minced or comminuted, which may be combined with other foods, and then encased or formed into discrete units. They must contain no less than 500g/kg fat free meat flesh and the fat content must be no more than half of the amount of the fat free meat flesh. This type of sausage, which is popular in Australia, is available as either beef, lamb, pork or chicken or a combination of meats. They are not fermented, cured or dried and do not contain nitrite.
  6. Includes corned beef, berliner, brawn, devon, mortadella, strasburg, chicken and turkey.
  7. Includes kabana, cabanossi and chorizo sausage.

Reference

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 4364.0.55.007, Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Foods and Nutrients, 2011–12 – Australia
  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, Standard 2.2.1 Meat and Meat Products. http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2012C00286 (accessed on 23 July 2015).