Argentina, Brazil, Chile or Uruguay? Where’s South America’s Cheapest Meat?

The cost of meat has been impacted by inflation across the region, and Bloomberg Línea compares prices for a barbecue, that staple of South American cuisine, in four countries

Argentina, Brazil, Chile or Uruguay? Which country is the cheapest for meat for a barbecue?
By Belén Escobar (EN)
May 29, 2023 | 01:40 PM

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Buenos Aires — Amid rising inflation and its impact on the purchasing power of salaried workers’ income, and the Argentine government’s decision to import food without tariffs in order to contain local prices, the question has arisen as to which country has the cheapest meat in South America, the essential ingredient for a traditional barbecue.

According to an analysis carried out by the Instituto de Estudios sobre la Realidad Argentina y Latinoamericana (IERAL), part of the Fundación Mediterránea, when comparing eight beef cuts for the third week of May in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Brazil, the lowest average price was found in Brazil, at the equivalent of 2,545 Argentine pesos ($10.74) per kilo.

To make the comparison, the respective exchange rates were used to transform the prices of each country into those of the same currency, which in this case is the Argentine peso, the report clarified.

Chile has the highest meat prices in the region

After Brazil, with a slight difference, was Argentina, with 2,687 pesos ($12.07) per kilo.

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And after Argentina come Uruguay and Chile, with a cost of 3,174 Argentine pesos ($13.37) and 3,555 pesos ($15) per kilo, respectively.

“As expected, the three exporters (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay) appeared with average values below those of the only net meat importer (Chile),” the study states.

Argentina's meat is not the region's cheapest.dfd

However, the report clarifies that, “unlike the pattern observed in previous surveys, Uruguay shows an average value closer to Chile than to Argentina and Brazil”.

“In May 2023, Brazil appears as the cheapest country for meat in the region, a place that had been snatched by Argentina in January, the month prior to the adjustment of cattle and meat prices that would take place in Argentina during February and March”, the study concludes.