The average meat consumption per person in Turkey decreased by 33 percent compared to 2019, while there was a 25 percent increase in the amount of pasta consumed in the same period, the Sözcü daily reported, citing data from the Turkish Red Meat Association (ETBİR) and the Pasta Industrialists Association of Turkey (TMSD).
ETBİR president Ahmet Yücesan told Sözcü that while a family of four had consumed 48 kilograms of meat in 2019, the same family consumed 28 kilograms of meat in 2020, with the average meat consumption per person declining from 12 kilograms to between seven and eight kilograms in the same period.
Yücesan cited the decline in purchasing power caused by a rise in meat prices as the main reason for the decrease in meat consumption in Turkey.
According to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data, the average price for red meat per kilogram in Turkey increased by 10.3 percent between 2019 and 2020 and stood at TL 65.2 ($7.6) in July 2021.
“Low-income workers would eat red meat during lunch at their workplaces. But that didn’t happen in 2020 since most people worked from home [due to the coronavirus pandemic],” Yücesan said, adding that the closure of restaurants, hotels and school cafeterias as part of measures to contain the pandemic was another reason for the decrease in Turkey’s meat intake.
TMSD chairman Abdülkadir Külahçıoğlu told Sözcü that the average pasta consumption per person in the country increased by 25 percent in 2020 to 8.2 kilos, adding that the rise in the consumption has been maintained in 2021.
He also stated that the average price for pasta per kilogram in Turkey has increased by 14 percent since the start of this year to TL 6 ($0.7).
The already deteriorating economy, where double-digit inflation and a slump in the lira’s value, nearly 30 percent in 2020, are affecting the standard of living, has worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic and measures imposed to contain the spread of the virus, putting many people into poverty.
Members of the opposition and critics have repeatedly argued that the worsening economic conditions in the country have triggered suicides.
A report drafted by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Tekin Bingöl in late May revealed that 150 people had died by suicide in Turkey due to financial problems in the first five months of 2021, which corresponds to a quarter of the total number of suicides occurred at the same period.
According to a survey conducted in May by MetroPOLL, 26.6 percent of Turks say they can’t meet their basic living costs, while 54 percent state that they barely do.