Meat and poultry consumption in Uruguay represents a high percentage of the population’s diet, and based on consumption levels in neighboring countries, poultry “still has significant room to grow,” according to the “International Egg and Poultry Review” from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Also, Uruguayan consumers have a strong preference for prepared meats and sausages. Less costly poultry continues to provide strong competition for other meats, the report noted. In 2013, the per capita consumption of beef was at 59.4 kilos (131 pounds), poultry 20.7 kilos (46 pounds), pork 16.8 kilos (37 pounds), and lamb 4.3 kilos (9 pounds) that is mainly consumed on the farm.

Uruguay is a small country with a population of 3.3 million, nearly half of which is concentrated in its capital city, Montevideo. Around 95 percent of the total population resides in urban areas. The Uruguayan economy has grown steadily since its recovery from a deep economic and financial crisis that struck the country in 2002. Annual average growth rates of 6.5 percent (2004 – 2008) made Uruguay one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. World economic slowdown brought lower rates of around 3 percent for 2009, peaking at 8.9 percent in 2010 and declining again in 2011 (6.5 percent), 2012 (3.9 percent) and 2013 (3.5 percent). Domestic consumption has fueled the economy, bolstered by an increase in incomes, a stable employment rate, and easily accessible consumer credit.

On April 21, 2014, Uruguay granted final approval for importing U.S. fresh and frozen poultry and poultry products, including U.S. fresh chicken. Following several years of technical discussions, USDA representatives from APHIS and FSIS reached agreement with Uruguay on the sanitary measures for U.S. poultry products. Access to Uruguay had been previously limited to U.S. fresh and frozen turkey meat for a seasonal market and U.S. cooked (processed) chicken meat. U.S. poultry exports to Uruguay were valued at $250,000 in 2013, up from $130,000 in 2012, with potential to expand further under this new agreement, the report explained. The report can be viewed here.