Like Lula, Fernández promised to return to the barbecue. Today, beef consumption in Argentina is the lowest in a hundred years

The PT candidate for the presidency, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has used the barbecue as a promise that the income and living conditions of the Brazilian population will improve if he gets his third term in the second presidential election round, the next day 30.

“When I talk about the barbecue, it’s because we’re going to go back, fix this country. And we’ll come back on the weekends to eat a barbecue and have a beer. They go crazy because he thinks that only he can. But we can and will want to eat a little barbecue”, he said, in the closing remarks of the debate at Band last Sunday (16) .

In 2019, the then candidate for the Argentine presidency Alberto Fernández, a supporter of Lula, also used the barbecue as a promise of better days.

In a video of the successful campaign to reach the Casa Rosada (then President Mauricio Macri would win), the Peronist politician and his vice-presidential candidate, Cristina Kirchner, showed an actor with a sad face looking at an unused barbecue, with paint cans and other objects inside, dusty and full of tree leaves.

“Look, we have thousands of problems, every day, but the weekend came and someone he said: ‘Oops, how about a barbecue?’”, said the voice of the announcer.

“The truth is that starting to lose these things… and I’m not talking about food. Barbecuing was something more, it was inviting people to your house, having friends over, having a laugh. What are we working for if not for that?”, added the advertisement, which ended with the message: “The good thing is that soon all this will get better. There is hope” – before showing the names of Fernández and Kirchner.

Three years later, the barbecue promised by the Peronist duo is increasingly distant from the Argentine table. A recent report by the Rosario Stock Exchange (BCR) pointed out that beef consumption was 47, 8 kilos per inhabitant in Argentina in 2021, the lowest since 1920.

In the year 2010, the average 44,9 kilos of beef consumed by each Argentine. In that year, beef represented 65% of the most consumed types of meat in the country; in 2021, it was in 44%.

With inflation swallowing the income and making it difficult to buy the product, the population of the neighboring country has to resort to other types of meat: the consumption of chicken meat has gone from 15% for 30% between 2000 and 2021, and pork, 8% for 15%.

“ For a long time, demand for beef in Argentina was characterized by a low income elasticity. In other words, the population did not change their meat consumption much when their income decreased. Thus, unlike other food consumptions, such as dairy products, beef consumption was independent of the level of average wages”, pointed out the BCR report.

However, in the last decade, this relationship became closer. “Meat consumption fell as the real purchasing power of the country’s average wage fell. In fact, if the correlation between these two variables is measured retroactively, 83% of the change in beef consumption since 2010 is explained due to variations in real wages”, highlighted the analysis.

A study by the Argentine Political Economy Center (Cepa) highlighted that the decrease in beef consumption, due to the substitution by other types of meat, is one of the reasons that for a year now, the inflation of the product has been below the general inflation in the country, which was 83% in September in the accumulated in 12 months.

But although the variation of beef was smaller , was still at a very high level: 67, 6% in 12 months.

The barbecue video of the 2019 campaign became a joke in society and in the Argentine press. In February of this year, in a news show on the LN+ channel, presenter Eduardo Feinmann joked when economic analyst Willy Laborda reported that the price of barbecue had risen by more than 200% during Fernández’s administration. .

“Poor man, he still has the same cans, the same tree leaves inside the barbecue. And there’s no barbecue!”, he said, citing the character in the campaign video of 2019.

Despite the difficulties to buy the product, eating beef is so important to local identity that last year Argentina had the highest per capita consumption of food, with the United States and Brazil appearing in second and third place, respectively, in a survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) carried out in 30 countries.

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