By 2050, there will be two billion more mouths to feed than today, according to Visual Capitalist. In this context, global demand for meat (as well for dairy products) is expected to accelerate at rates unseen in the past four decades, and so are the expected sheep prices.
The trend has been upward for the past decades: worldwide meat production and livestock exports have tripled over the last four decades and expanded by 20% in the past 10 years. More precisely, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, worldwide consumption of meat has increased by almost 10 kilograms per-capita in a timespan of 40 years (from aprox. 20 kilograms per-capita to aprox. 40 kilograms per-capita).
Worldwide consumption of meat in the past decades. Source: ourworldindata.org
Available data also shows that people in developed countries are, on average, buying nearly double the quantity of meat compared to their counterparts in less developed or in developing countries, which is also leading to an increase in sheep prices.
According to Our World In Data, in 2018 an estimated 69 billion chickens, 1.5 billion pigs, 656 million turkeys, 574 million sheep, 479 million goats and 302 million cattle were slaughtered for meat production.
This is a staggering amount for only one year, but the numbers serve to better understand the magnitude of meat consumption. Below you can find the visualization details of the total number of livestock animals slaughtered for meat worldwide.
It’s in this context that Science Direct predicts that traditional importing markets (especially sheep markets) will expand by increasing demand from developing countries with growth in income and a predilection for meat consumption — such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates or Qatar.
Compared to other types of meat, sheep/lamb meat has seen an upward trend because of its competitive price, high-quality meat, but also thanks to its multiple health benefits:
Excellent source of iron. Sheep/lamb meat contains a larger quantity of iron than other protein sources like chicken or fish, hence the consumption can help improve and prevent iron deficiency and even anemia in humans.
Nervous system health promoter. This type of meat is a great source of vitamin B12 and other essentials vitamins B — including B6, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. All these vitamins help the human nervous system function in normal parameters and they also ensure that nerve cells are kept in a healthy state at all times.
Immune booster. Sheep meat is also loaded with immune-boosting zinc.Zinc is essential for optimal immune health, but also for wound healing. In addition, zinc is essential for DNA and protein synthesis.
Rich source of healthy fats like Omega-3. Sheep meatcontains fat, but a significant part of it is represented by anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids (as a matter of fact, sheep lamb contains more Omega-3s than beef).
Most of us are aware of the benefits that Omega-3 can bring to our diet and associate its source with fatty fish like salmon or sardines, but few of us realize that sheep is also an important source of Omega-3s. Besides that, sheep meat is also known to provide to its consumers linoleic acid, an acid that helps with fat loss and with building muscle mass.
Sheep prices in the past 5 years: overview
A rising trend has been noticed not only in sheep meat consumption (due to all the reasons presented above), but also in sheep prices: in the graphic below, by Statista.com, you can see for yourself the evolution of price index (both for slaughter and export), with a peak in 2014 and a similar one in 2017, when the index almost reached 2014 levels.
Evolution of sheep price index/sheep prices. Source: statista.com
But what is the psychology of pricing, how can we explain this evolution in sheep prices over the time?
Well, it’s actually quite simple: according to Du Plessis and Du Rand, price is known as the most determining/important factor in consumer’s purchasing decision, with consumption health benefits coming only in second place. In short: a higher price will most of the times translate (for the consumer) into better quality.
Visual Capitalist provides us with a fascinating infographic that focuses on the psychology of pricing strategy. The infographic shows how the actual pricing options provided can influence overall buying behavior. Same goes for the global sheep meat market and sheep prices.
Opportunities and challenges
As for this year, the demand of sheep is expected to continue to be high, despite the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak crisis and global uncertainty associated with it.
Restrictions enforced to slow the spread of the virus have already been lifted in most countries, so the opening of the food service industry/segment is expected to help restore the market for sheep meat and also in export markets. On the other hand, it may be interesting to note that, while UK and other European countries’ total sheep numbers have been on a decline of 3%, over a range of 10 years from 2005, Romania’s numbers have increased by 25%.
When analyzing the livestock trends for the past years one can notice that, apart from a decrease in 2010, sheep and goat populations are increasing (with a peak between 2011-2015). Basically, the sheep population has increased from less than 8 million in 2006 to 11.5 million in 2017.
As for the exports segment, according to Eurostat, for many years the top destination has been Jordan (and continues to be), followed by Turkey, Israel and Libya.
Below you can also find a graphic that shows the evolution of exports and sheep prices: one can notice the increase in the value of exports of both sheep and bovine was approaching USD 0.37 billion (EUR 0.34 billion) in 2016. As for 2017, the cumulative value of exports of sheep and cattle was EUR 0.39 billion, up 14.8% vs. the previous year.
Sheep prices and exports. Source: FAO
New data for the past 3 years (until or including 2020) is not available yet, but we can assume the numbers got even higher.
Seradria, a reliable source of sheep meat with a competitive range of sheep prices
In the past years, Seradria has become one of the most important European exporters for destinations in Europe, Africa and Asia.
The top Romanian exporter owns farms that annually host more than 150,000 sheep, lambs and cattle, both equipped with all the necessary utilities required by the E.U. legislation.
Every sheep that leaves Seradria’s farms owns a sanitary and a veterinary certificate that guarantee its excellent health status, plus an excellent traceability system. Besides that, the range of sheep prices is highly competitive, compared to what other exporters have to offer.
It’s exactly in this context that Seradria has become one of the most trustful European livestock exporters: Israel, Libya, Lebanon, Germany, Greece, Hungary, France, Sweden are just some of the countries where clients have put their trust in our high-quality livestock.