First purchase for the new middle class? Meat

Interesting tidbits from a Wired magazine article on aquaculture:
World population is expected to grow 10 percent by the end of the decade, but demand for fish and other meat - beef, pork, and chicken - will rise 25 percent. What gives? Call it the curse of the emerging middle class. As consumers become wealthier, the first thing they may want is a TV - but the next is animal protein. "When disposable income increases, people tend to improve their diet," says Steve Blank, an agricultural economist at UC Davis. "They don't necessarily change volume, but meat is one thing they add."
The average American eats 56 pounds of meat annually. But US consumption is relatively flat; it's expected to grow just 5 percent by 2010. Less-developed countries will see bigger increases. In China, for example, consumption will rise 43 percent by 2010: The average citizen will consume 15 percent more fish, 36 percent more pork, 45 percent more beef, and 68 percent more poultry than in 1999. (Even then, per capita meat consumption in China will be half the US total.)
Open-ocean aquaculture may meet the growing demand for fish, but satisfying the desire for other animal products poses a bigger challenge. That's because fish rate especially high in what the industry calls feed conversion - the ratio of food an animal consumes to meat it produces. A pound of deep sea-raised salmon requires roughly 1 pound of fish and fish oil. Chickens take in 2 pounds of feed for 1 pound of flesh. Raising the beef for four Quarter Pounders requires at least 9 pounds of grain.
Unlike farming fish, the production of poultry, pork, and beef isn't likely to get much more efficient than it already is. But distribution is ripe for an overhaul; producers can make the most of their animals by selling various parts where they're more valued. On menus in China, for instance, cow stomach - not steak - is a delicacy. "Tenderloin stays in North America and Australia," says Dermot Hayes, professor of agribusiness at Iowa State University. "The tail, internal organs, and reproductive organs go over to China."
Chalk one up for global trade.
Mmmm, tripe.
The much publicized new studies endorsing low-carb weight-loss diets won't help with our global meat shortage.
This post sent from the Michigan Ave. Apple Store in Chicago