Meat & Livestock News

2024 Outlook for Global Animal Protein: Growth Slows Amidst Market Pressures

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Rabobank’s Global Animal Protein Outlook report for 2024 forecasts a deceleration in the growth of animal protein production, marking a shift from the consistent growth observed over the past four years.

This slowdown is attributed to a range of market challenges, with producers and processors facing the need to adapt to sustain their success in the context of persistently tight margins.

Justin Sherrard, the global strategist for animal protein at Rabobank, commends the sector’s resilience and adaptability in meeting consumer demands despite daunting challenges such as the cost of living crisis, regulatory uncertainties, and elevated operational costs.

He notes that consumer demand for animal protein remains robust, with companies successfully navigating these hurdles to capitalise on market opportunities.

The report anticipates that rising production costs and limited supplies will lead to an increase in animal protein prices, potentially impacting global consumption patterns in 2024. While input costs and inflation rates are expected to ease slightly from their pandemic-era peaks, a segment of consumers appears willing to pay higher prices for premium quality products.

Sherrard points out that the current market changes, while challenging, also present new opportunities for businesses to enhance their operational processes and product offerings.

Companies that demonstrate agility in adapting to these changes and effectively gauge consumer willingness to pay for specific preferences are likely to thrive in the increasingly competitive market.

Rabobank’s analysis suggests strategic actions for companies in this sector, including intensifying efforts to boost productivity, reassessing product portfolios, fortifying supply chain partnerships, ramping up investment in new product development, and revising pricing strategies to effectively navigate the anticipated challenges of the upcoming year.

The report projects a modest year-over-year production growth of 0.5% to 247 million tonnes in 2024 across key markets such as North America, Brazil, Europe, Oceania, China, and Southeast Asia.

Notably, poultry and aquaculture are the only sectors expected to witness production growth in 2024. Conversely, beef production is projected to continue its downward trend from 2023, and pork production is also expected to see a modest contraction.

The demand for plant-based meat alternatives is forecasted to decline among both consumers and investors, with the food service sector likely emerging as the primary market for these products in 2024.

Sherrard emphasises the critical need for businesses in the animal protein industry to adapt to the structural shifts in the market.

Rather than merely weathering the storm, these businesses must leverage their strengths and prepare for a future characterised by high operational costs and tight profit margins.

The report predicts that Brazil will maintain robust growth in poultry and meat production on a regional scale, while Southeast Asia is likely to experience accelerated growth. 

In contrast, China and the Oceania countries (Australia and New Zealand) are expected to see only marginal growth. Europe and North America, on the other hand, are projected to face an overall reduction in production.