The price of beef grew at the slowest pace in years in 2016 and crossed the Sh400 mark for the first time.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows that beef with bones retailed at an average of Sh402 a kilogramme through the December festive season from Sh397 in the same month of 2015 — representing a growth of just 1.2 per cent or Sh5 more.
This is the slowest pace compared with previous years when the price rose by nine per cent in 2014 and 2.8 per cent in 2015 — showing a continuing drop in the price growth.
The slower price growth comes amid health concerns associated with red meat with studies indicating excessive consumption could cause chronic conditions such as heart disease.
Red meat was defined as all types of beef, pork and lamb.
Processed meat included bacon, red meat sausage, poultry sausage, luncheon meats, cold cuts, ham and most types of hot dogs including turkey dogs.
Doctors prefer the healthy white meat to red meat.
White meat — which is a leaner source of protein, with a lower fat content — is generally classified as poultry and fish. But the high cost of white meat has pushed households to beef.
The KNBS data shows beef price on average crossed the Sh400 mark this is the first time last year, having grown from Sh397 in 2015, Sh386 in 2014 and Sh328 in Sh2012.
Official data shows that beef consumption grew 32 per cent to 499,000 tonnes in 2015 compared to 378,000 tonnes a year earlier. The KNBS is yet to release last year’s data.
Though consumed in small quantities, demand for white meat has continued to grow.
The official data shows poultry consumption grew 50 per cent to 33,000 tonnes in 2015 while goat meat consumption rose 10.8 per cent to 92,000 tonnes.
Pig meat rose 60 per cent to 24,000 tonnes from 15,000 tonnes while offal or matumbo stagnated at 76,000 tonnes.
Overall, Kenya’s meat consumption jumped 28.8 per cent to 683, 000 tonnes in 2015 from 530,000 tonnes.