More and more Belgians leaving meat off the menu

Fresh figures from the economy ministry show that the average Belgian is consuming less meat each year. Consumption is down 1.3 kilos. Patrick Mullie, an expert at the Free University of Brussels, attributes the fall to the spate of scandals involving Belgian abattoirs.

Last year the average Belgian ate 51 kilos of meat. In 2005 annual consumption still stood at 66 kilos for the average Belgian. In the years in-between consumption has fallen by a quarter. Belgians make little distinction between the various kinds of meat when it comes to cutting down. Consumption of beef, veal, lamb, horse (!) and goat meat are all on the decrease. There are two exceptions: consumption of rabbit and game are on the rise.

Pork remains the Belgian's mainstay with consumption of 22.5 kilos on average last year. Belgians consume 13 kilos of poultry each year too. Food expert Patrick Mullie sees several reasons for the downward spiral: "Today's generations set greater store by sustainability. More and more people are aware that we only have one planet and are interested in the shortest possible food chain. Our population is ageing too and many older Belgians suffer problems with their cholesterol as well as cardiovascular difficulties. As a result people are having to cut down on meat. Scandals in the meat sector have also turned people off meat."

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