The aim of the paper is to explain to what extent meat consumption patterns in Spain are different in rural and urban areas and which are the factors explaining differences and similarities. A demand system using cross-section data from the latest Spanish National Survey has been estimated. Unit values have been used instead of market prices and price and quality effects have been obtained. The main conclusion is that meat consumption patterns in urban and rural areas are not really different as regards economic factors. Some small income and price effect differences have been found, specially for fresh pork and fish. Responses to changes in income and price are higher for fresh pork consumption in rural areas and for fish in urban areas. © 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.