Are you considering getting into raising meat goats for profit, but are still on the (goat) fence?
You’re in the right place, because Who Buys Goat Meat? we’ve put together THE definitive list of market trends and OPPORTUNITIES for 2019, so you can make an informed decision.
There's a bunch of interesting facts and data in this article, but we also put everything into an infographic for fun. Take a look:
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Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide:
Let’s get into it!
Current Demand for Goat Meat (and Future Projections)
Did you know that of all the red meat consumed globally, 63% is goat meat?
That means the U.S. has a lot of catching up to do!
Because recent studies suggest that only 17% of U.S. consumers currently purchase goat meat. (But don’t worry, demand is about to ramp up a lot - for three reasons I describe later in this article.)
And check out the data that shows there’s been a huge surge in goat meat demand in the States recently:
Australian exports of goat meat (largely to the U.S.) have increased more than 400% in a decade!
Despite this, demand for goat meat exceeds supply from the two largest exporters of goat meat to the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
And that’s just demand in America. Look at these facts about international consumption of goat meat:
In the video below, Steve Byrns from Texas A&M University explains a 6-year study on the meat goat market that found demand for meat goats is increasing while stock is decreasing (which has been pushing up prices):
And in this video, Dr. Frank Craddock (goat specialist with the TAMU Extension Center) discusses the future of the meat goat industry and how demand will be greater than supply for the foreseeable future:
So who exactly is buying all this goat meat – especially in the United States? Let’s take a look…
Who Buys Goat Meat? Here Are Your 2 Target Markets
According to the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS), the growing demand for goat meat in the United States is due to:
1. Skyrocketing Ethnic Populations
Specifically, the increase in Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, and Caribbean populations is driving demand for goat meat in the U.S.
Goat meat is favored by many minorities because it has few, if any, religious restrictions.
Alabama A&M University has an excellent fact sheet on the nutritive value of goat meat, and highlights these important points about the Hispanic market for goat meat in the U.S.:
A survey of “ethnic” consumers in Ontario, Canada showed goat meat consumption varied highly by ethnic group:
Goat MEAT CONSUMPTION
The same study found that some African immigrants eat goat meat one or two times daily. The study found that those immigrants have these preferences for goat meat:
Bottom line: these immigrants preferred fresh and grass-fed goat meat.
“The steady increase in Florida and the U.S. of ethnic populations and people from different cultures and religions has drastically increased the demand for goat meat and other goat food products.”
David Nistler, livestock agent for the University of Florida/IFAS Extension Union County office
2. Growing Niche Markets
The three biggest niche markets are consumers who are interested in (a) the health benefits of goat meat, (b) the “eat local” and “eco-friendly” movements, and (c) broadening their culinary experiences.
How Farmers Can Take Advantage of the Goat Meat Boom: 5 Action Steps
Choose the Best Meat Goat Breed for Your Farm
We’re obviously biased toward Boer goats (just look at the name of our website!), but you really need to choose the breed of meat goat that’s best for your operation.
Focus on One Target Market
As discussed in the previous section, there are two growing target markets for goat meat in the USA:
Here’s a great answer from one goat farmer when he was asked “In your opinion, what opportunities do you envision for the goat sector associated with the ethnic market?”:
“Producers need to continue to identify premium markets for their product.
James Whetlor, founder of London goat meat supplier Cabrito.
“One of the things that makes goat so appealing, I think, is that it does have so many cultural references. It’s just as at home in a tandoori as it is in a deep south American barbecue, or a braised shoulder or roasted leg.”
Choose the Best Way to Sell Your Goat Meat
According to the NAHMS Goat 2009 Study, the most common ways farmers sold their meat goats:
Get More Customers by Using the Right Messages in Your Marketing
In a study called Validating the demand for goat meat in the US meat market, the authors identified what would motivate current goat meat-eaters to eat more goat meat. The study found that:
According to the study’s authors, “Consumers favoring less cholesterol comprise the large portion of seasonal purchasers of goat meat.”
The authors conclude that “…the growth potential” of the goat meat market “is not driven just by the size of ethnic groups or the elderly, but also by consumer preferences for healthy and safer attributes of goat meat.”
In a survey of consumers’ preference for goat meat in the United States, people who have never eaten goat meat were asked why they hadn’t, and what would encourage them to try goat meat.
When asked “Why have you never eaten goat meat?”:
A follow-up question asked under what circumstances that person was likely to try goat meat:
Of people who had eaten goat meat before, but didn’t eat it regularly, the reasons for not eating goat meat regularly:
Of goat meat eaters, the occasions they eat goat meat included:
A research paper called Should You Market Chevon, Cabrito or Goat Meat? summarizes these findings from a study
…if you want to build a larger market by appealing to the masses that have never tried this delicacy, your chances of success will be increased by calling it chevon, cabrito, or some other exotic sounding name.
Remember, outside of the brotherhood of current goat meat consumers, “goat” is a four-letter word!”
Emphasize the Health Benefits of Goat Meat
No matter which target market you choose, keep in mind that one of the biggest benefits of goat meat is also little-known: goat is the healthiest of all red meats.
Here are some facts that you can use to sell more product:
Here's a table put together by Alabama A&M University comparing the nutrients of the major meat groups:
Maybe the biggest health-related selling point for goat meat is weight loss. Here’s why it’s a great sell for weight loss:
Action Steps from this Section:
What Other Farmers are Saying About the Goat Meat Market
At this point you might be thinking “Enough with the stats – what are real live farmers saying?”
We get emails every day from farmers who are looking to get into Boers, or farmers who’ve been into Boers for a while and want to let us know how they’re doing.
First off, check out this excellent video by Bear of Arms Family Homestead on things you need to know before getting goats:
And to give you a feel for the success some farmers are having, take a look at these stories:
Susie & Larry Reeves, The Florida Goat Ranch
“When Susie Reeves saw the growing population of people of various cultural backgrounds, ethnicities and religions immigrating to Florida and the U.S., she had a hunch the demand for goat meat would rise.
So 11 years ago, she convinced her husband Larry Reeves they should begin raising goats on their farm in Hawthorne because goat meat is the most consumed meat in the world.
They did some research and took a weeklong class on goats at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, then started Florida Goat Ranch.
Susie Reeves’ hunch was right. The demand for goat meat has risen.
“The price of goat meat has doubled since we got into the business 11 years ago,” Larry Reeves said. “The boss lady said we should have goats, and we got goats.”
As the demand for goat meat continues to grow, the Reeves are delighted they shifted their interest from cattle to goats.
“I always said I could manhandle a goat better than I could a cow,” Susie Reeves said.
Read more: Florida’s Goat Industry Goes Gangbusters
“Sustained growth in demand for goat meat around the globe has sent prices to a record high.”
"The exciting news from an industry perspective is the prices at the moment are not just being driven by a tightening of supply, they're also being driven by growing demand internationally and domestically.”
Owen Smith, Whitestone Boers, Milton, New Zealand
“There is huge demand world-wide for goat meat, as well as for stud animals as breeders try to improve their flocks.
In the last 12 months I have had inquiries from Australia, Taiwan, Canada and Korea. We are continuing to get more now than we ever did."
Read more: Huge overseas demand for Boer goats, meat
Raising goats require less maintenance than other cattle. Goats have a shorter gestation period, 150 days, compared to 280 days for cattle. One goat can produce two to three kids a year, while a cow can only produce one calf a year.
“I have seen some people actually rent herds of goats in order to clear out underbrush and weeds due to goats being browsers and liking a varied diet.”
Myrna Gisler, Gisler Boer Goats, Alberta, Canada
Myrna “There are so many people coming into Canada who want quality goat meat, but 90 per cent of the goat meat that’s consumed in Canada is imported from Australia,” said Gisler.
In Canada, growing Filipino, Muslim, and Jamaican communities are “always looking for product”.
“We don’t have the numbers to export. There’s so much demand that there’s no way we can possibly meet it,” said Gisler, adding that goat meat and milk are also becoming popular with “the health conscious.”
“The market is there, and there’s definitely room to grow.”
“I can’t see any other industry that has grown like that in the last 20 years. Growth has been steady all along.”
And here are some videos showing you the experience of more farmers:
Glen Martin sold 250 goats in one year working part-time (note that this video is from 2013, so it’s a bit dated):
This video is an interview with the Carpenter family in Mount Crawford, Virginia. They talk about raising, selling and showing their Boer goats:
7 More Reasons to Get into Meat Goats (Besides Selling the Meat)
If the skyrocketing demand for goat meat and profit potential don’t appeal to you too much, there are a bunch more reasons to consider raising meat goats:
Clear your land & shrubs
Not only can you use goats to clear your own land, some farmers even rent out their goats to clear other farmers’ land!
Did you know that goat manure doesn’t smell, and it doesn’t attract insects like cow or horse manure does?
Goat milk has a bunch of attractive qualities: it’s easier to digest than cow’s milk, isn’t as allergenic, and is good for the skin! That probably explains why the goat milk market has been growing in the US.
Like goat milk, cheese from goats is rich in vitamins, has less saturated fats and cholesterol, and has fewer calories.
Ever hear of cashmere or mohair? Those fibers come from goats!
If you’ve spent any time around goats, you know they can be both charming and hilarious! They’re usually pretty good-natured, too, so they’re great for children.
Entertainment & therapy
Being around animals can be a real stress-reliever, including being around goats.
And if you haven’t watched baby goats horsing around (so to speak), you haven’t seen real entertainment!
What You Should Do Now:
And get raising those meat goats!
Is There a Market for Goat Meat in the US? Yes, There Is!
U.S. Goat Meat Operations
Consumers’ Preference for Goat Meat in the United States
Validating the demand for goat meat in the US meat market
Understanding the Ethnic Market Opportunities for Veal, Goat, Lamb and Rabbit
The U.S. Can’t Get Enough of Australia’s Goats
Goat from Farm to Table
No kidding: goat is the (ethical) new lamb
Should You Market Chevon, Cabrito or Goat Meat?
How You Can Lose Weight with Goat Meat
Nutritive Value of Goat Meat
Eat goat! It is a healthy choice!
No kidding: Growing interest in goats at Agribition
Is India’s obsession with the cow getting your goat?
Strong meat demand spells bright future for goat industry
Huge overseas demand for Boer goats, meat
Growing appetite for goat meat sends prices to record heights
Florida’s Goat Industry Goes Gangbusters
20 Reasons Why Keeping Goats Will Change Your Life for The Better