05/05/2016

Move Over, Organic And Natural Foods. We Live In A Grassfed Era Now.

photo credit: ancestralizeme.com

Author: Geoff Williams

Grass-fed is the new organic.

That is, just as the organic food industry took off, so, too have grass-fed-raised foods. It’s apparently at least a $2.5 billion industry, and growing, according to, well, the grassfed industry. Right now, as I write this, The 2016 Grassfed Exchange Conference is being held in Perry, Georgia — this is its eighth annual conference — and of course, there is an American Grassfed Association. In other words, there is some sort of grass-fed movement, and if you’re like me, you’ve noticed more and more restaurants touting its grass-fed beef, or groceries pushing its grass-fed dairy products. You can buy grass-fed eggs (which generally means that the chickens laying the eggs are free roaming and can eat grass if they want, but, sure, given chickens generally don’t eat grass), and, of course, there’s grass-fed milk, yogurt, butter… You can even buy grass-fed macaroni and cheese.

As with organic foods, grass-fed foods are also apparently the healthier way to go, and also like the word organic, not to mention, natural, there’s a lot of confusion over exactly what grassfed means.

So if you’re new to the grass-fed phenomenon, let’s walk through this…

First, the spelling. Is it grassfed, grass-fed or grass fed? You’ll see a variety of spellings everywhere, but I’m going to take a cue from the Associated Press’s articles and will go with the hyphenated version.

If you’re eating grass-fed beef or drinking grass-fed milk, what does that mean? The cow you’re dining on, or drinking from, had a diet of grass. After all, we may not like the stuff, but cows sure do, and if you’re going to think about where your hamburger or glass of milk was before it wound up in your meal, you’d probably prefer to picture a cow on a sloping grassy field chewing happily under a bright blue shy, rather than being in a small pen in some factory farm, being fed some formula to fatten them up.

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