Skip to main content
When beef was king. Or why do Colombians eat so little pork?
Revista de Estudios Sociales (2008)
  • Shawn Van Ausdal

This article seeks to understand why Colombians, compared to many other Latin Americans, have traditionally eaten so much more beef than pork. The article first points to the development of a culinary tradition that favored beef. The bulk of the argument, though, centers on the fact that, historically, beef has been substantially cheaper than pork. This price difference, in turn, is rooted in the low productivity of Colombian agriculture, which made corn, often used to fatten hogs, expensive. Additional factors that favored beef include a receding agrarian frontier, a small hog population, the various advantages of cattle, a conflict–ridden history of land monopolization, and the influence of lard imports and the subsequent development of a vegetable oil industry.

  • Meat consumption,
  • food studies,
  • hog raising,
  • cattle ranching,
  • agriculture,
  • Colombia
Publication Date
April, 2008
Citation Information
Shawn Van Ausdal. "When beef was king. Or why do Colombians eat so little pork?" Revista de Estudios Sociales Iss. 29 (2008)
Available at: