More and more consumers are actively searching out and paying for grass-fed beef; and this really isn’t that big a surprise, especially when you consider the health benefits of eating grass-fed beef and you also consider how society is moving away from the idea of indulgence and focusing more on fitness and health, as well as environmentalism and sustainability.
Increase in Consumer Demand
Studies have suggested that the demand by consumers for grass-fed beef has been steadily rising at a rate of approximately 20% every year. More and more stores are becoming aware of the demand and are catering for the requirement, but unfortunately retail availability remains inadequate.
One of the biggest selling points that seem to be attracting consumers to grass-fed beef is that it is generally leaner when compared to grain-fed beef.
Grass-fed beef also includes increased levels of Omega 6 and Omega 3 as well as other vitamins and minerals. This additional health benefits make it even more advertising to any consumer that is trying to lose weight or get in shape. It also makes grass-fed beef very advertising to body builders and professional athletes.
You may think that the professional athletes have a very specific diet that includes a number of supplements in order to have a handful of marginal gains; but you may be surprised to find out that many of the top athletes that you know and love have been eating grass-fed meat for a number of years.
Quality Versus Cost
Granted, at the moment grass-fed beef is a niche market and the majority of beef production, a staggering 97%, still comes in the form of conventional (and somewhat commercial) grain-fed cattle. However, with that said, more and more people are actively seeking out grass-fed beef, and many people pay a premium for the privilege. For consumers, the choice will once again come down to quality vs cost.
Grass-fed beef is only more expensive because it takes longer to raise the cows to a desired size . However, with the cost of grain on the rise, the price differential between grain-fed and grass-fed meat could be reduced, enabling more consumers to justify opting for the better product.
Grass-Fed Cattle – The Way Nature Intended
Grain-fed cattle may reach a bigger size in quicker timeframe than grass-fed cattle, but grain is not a food that would be included in a cow’s natural diet. Grain-fed animals have demonstrated a spike in their hormones which is not seen in grass-fed animals, as well as elevated levels of fat. The fat in grain-fed beef should be avoided, because it also contains high levels of saturated fat.
Just feeding cows the food that they would naturally eat (i.e. grass) the composition, quality and taste of the meat will be completely altered. As mentioned earlier in this article, the grass-fed beef offers athletes a number of health benefits, such as:
A Different Dining Experience
Ignoring both the cost and the health benefits for a moment, it is worth noting that many people notice a big difference in the taste of grass-fed beef when compared to grain-fed.
The taste of grass-fed beef is often described as being a much stronger flavour when compared to grain-fed, and although the taste is different many consumers quickly prefer the taste of grass-fed than grain-fed meat.
By taking grain out of the equation, you are also taking out a number of unwanted chemicals and hormones in the meat that you consume. By feeding cattle grass they will be much healthier and happier, which in turn will change the flavour of the meat, and all of these things can only be a good thing for you!
Athletes are advised to choose cuts of meat that have slightly higher amounts of fat, such as a sirloin or a rib-eye steak. Despite the higher fat contents, these cuts have an ideal balance between protein and healthy fat content that athletes need to build and repair muscle and to perform at their very best.
If you’re going to eat meat, make sure it’s the best possible quality and cut for your fitness regime!