The US meat industry is going on a high with the rising demand for grass-fed beef. To understand the pace of growth, you must look at the sales figure that grew from $17 million to $272 million in 2016 a whopping increase of 16 times within just 4 years. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that when you buy steaks online, you could be looking for grass-fed beef only. But still grass-fed beef constitutes just 1% of the US beef market with unlabeled grass-fed beef accounting for 4% of the beef market.
It is mainly for health reasons that people are moving towards grass-fed beef because it is bereft of the growth promoting drugs and grains that producers use to leverage their commercial gains. Since growing cattle the organic way requires a lot of effort and investment it is natural that grass-fed beef is costly. The cattle grow in human conditions that result in superior beef quality as compared to grain-fed beef. The meat is free from harmful pathogens found in traditional beef and loaded with more nutrients that offer a wide range of health benefits.
Grass-fed and Grass-finished – know the difference
Grass-fed beef is different from grass-finished beef because of the ways of feeding cattle. All cattle feed on grass and plants as it grazes on pastures including those that are grass-finished. While summer months are suitable for grazing, the animals stay indoors during the winter season and feed on corn and soy-based feeds. When the animals reach the finishing stage which could be 160-180 days from the end of its life if it keeps feeding on grass only then it qualifies for earning a grass-finished label. Since all cattle feed on grass for the major part of its life, it seems logical to classify the animals as grass-fed although the meat does not have the characteristics of a truly grass-finished beef.
Grass-finished beef is healthier
Grass-finished beef contains much lesser total fat not exceeding 10% which makes it attractive for health-conscious people who want to enjoy beef minus its ill-effects. It is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that are good for the heart and has a high content of conjugated linoleic acid which is a type of fat that reduces the risks of cancer and heart disease. Moreover, Vitamin E and antioxidant vitamins are available in plenty. Therefore, there is every reason to include grass-fed beef into a healthy diet plan and as health consciousness is increasing so is the demand for grass-fed beef.
Beef lovers often use the term organic beef loosely to express their interest in healthy beef obtained from cattle exclusively fed on grass throughout its life. However, you must be careful not to confuse it with grass-fed beef which could include any other beef including grain-fed beef. To earn an organic label, farmers must complete a certification process of the USFDA which can take at least 3 years.
However, it is easy to explain your requirement by using the term grass-finished which exclusively relate to a specified healthier quality of beef.