Information about meat production

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General information

The energy consumption is one of the key production factors in the meat processing industry. It has a great impact on the meat processing plant efficiency and the natural environment. Consumption of energy carriers in meat processing plants depends on many factors such as, for example, size and structure of output, production technology used, thermo-physical properties of raw materials, mechanisation of production processes and utilization of processing capacity. An average about 775kWh of energy required to produce a tonne of beef and 685kWh per tonne of sheep meat (based on the energy used for slaughtering, cutting and retail packing). In meat processing, moderate levels of both electrical and thermal energy are consumed in wide range of processes and applications. Electricity is used for refrigeration, compressed air, ventilation, lighting, powering the operating equipment in the slaughter, boning and by-product processing areas such as saws, hoists, conveyors, packing machines and electrical stimulation. Gas and oil are primarily used to provide heat and hot water for the factories (eg. for scalding, knife sterilisation, cleaning process areas and machinery, by product processing and heating).


poultry (chicken, turkey)
canned meat (beef muscle in gelatine)
cooked ham
cured ham
special cooking meat
salami and sausages

Processes in meat production

Meat Processing.jpg

Energy consumption in the meat industry

Sector Electricity Fuels
Activity  % Activity  %
Pork slaughtering Cooling 49-70 Gas oven 60-65
Slaughtering 5-30 Cleaning and disinfecting 18-20
Water cleaning 5-7 Singeing 15
Lighting 2-8 Space heating 7
Evisceration 3
Cattle slaughtering Slaughtering 26 Cleaning and disinfecting 80-90
Evisceration 3 Space heating 10-20
Cooling 45-70
Compressed air, lighting and machines 30
Poultry slaughtering Cooling 52-60 Singeing 60
Machines and compressed air 30 Cleaning and disinfecting 30
Lighting and ventilation 4 Space heating 10
Meat slaughtering Cutting and mixing 40 Cleaning and disinfecting 25
Cooling 40 Space heating 15
Packing 10
Lighting 10
Rendering Compressed air, lighting and machines 12 Vacuum evaporation 2
Grinding and pressing 17 Drying 61
Drying 23 Grinding and pressing 17
Vacuum evaporation 6 Space heating 1
Milling plant 8 Fat treatment 3
Meat sterilization 2 Meat sterilization 8


Table of energy consumption for an abattoir with an output of 200 up to 250 pigs or 40 up to 60 cattle per hour: (Heiss, R. [Hrsg.]: Lebensmitteltechnologie)

Benchmark meat.JPG

For more benchmark data, check above the sector Products


  • Ramirez C A Energy 31, 2047- 2063
  • Heiss, R.(1990) Lebensmitteltechnologie