Strange Claims on Meat Consumption

Alison Spiegel at Huffington Post recently ran a story with the lead title: 

Chicken More Popular Than Beef In U.S. For First Time In 100 Years

As best I can tell, however, claim isn't true.  It is true that per capita consumption of chicken is increasing, but it surpassed beef back in the early 1990s.

The claim comes from a graph, which was reproduced from a story by Priceonomics,who in turn took it from Angela Wong at NPR, who in turn cites the Earth Policy Institute.  Beyond that, I have no idea where the data come from.  

For context, here is the graph from Huffington Post:


But, according to USDA data, per capita chicken consumption passed beef in about 1992.  Here, for example, is a graph from the Livestock Marketing Information Center (which uses USDA data).


Oddly, the Earth Policy Institute has, on their web site, a graph showing something similar to the LMIC.  

There may be a rational explanation for the discrepancy (such as differences in data sources or differences in what is being counted in "total chicken") but without any details we only have to guess.

One final point.  Yes, per capita consumption of chicken is on on the rise and has been higher than beef for now over 20 years (according to USDA data).  But, that is largely because chicken has become much less expensive and, lately, beef more expensive.  

Thus, I don't know that we should say chicken is more "popular" than beef.  Indeed, people SPEND much more money on beef than chicken - about twice as much as the following graph shows.  If we judge by dollars spent, beef is much more popular than chicken.