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Total U.S. meat consumption will probably grow slowly between 1987 and 2000, in line with the expected 12- to 15-percent population expansion. This slow growth, plus the increased availability of crop-based foods, challenges producers to develop meat products that appeal to the consumer and can be produced to sell at competitive prices. The 1984 real (inflation-adjusted) retail prices for beef and pork dropped almost 20 percent from 1960 levels, and real prices for broiler meat dropped 50 percent. These decreases resulted from the meat industry's move to fewer but larger, more efficient firms. These firms slaughtered and produced more than 60 percent of U.S. livestock and poultry at lower unit cost than smaller, similar firms.


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