The grass fed beef market has become saturated over the years, and so-called grass fed steaks are easy to find in grocery stores and major chains. However, it is important to know whether the meat you buy is 100% grass fed and finished. Top-quality grass fed meat is produced from cows that only eat grass their entire lives, even during the finishing period at the end of production.
Do You Eat 100% Real Grass Fed/Finished Beef?
When cattle feed on native green grasses they produce more nutrient-dense beef that includes more omega 3 essential fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. The green grasses infuse these healthy benefits into the muscle tissue of the animal as it passes through the stomach and is processed naturally. If the animal is removed from green grasses with high caloric intake, the infusion of healthy vitamins and enzymes stops. If the animals are put into a feedlot, they are given antibiotics and hormones, so instead of healthy vitamins, they are infusing antibiotics and hormones into muscle tissue that is the steak you eat!
Marbling = Tender and Flavorful Meat
What some producers are trying to accomplish is marbling without green and healthy grasses (see more about the importance of marbling here.) They can’t get the desired marbling for tenderness and flavor on their grasses so they grain feed their animals in the finishing period. You will see this on “Grass Fed and Grain Finished” programs. Some major grocery store chains claim to offer “Grass Fed” but they are offering beef which has been fed “Grass Pellets”. This is certainly grass, but it is dried grass formed into a pellet, and not the green grass which needs to ferment in the stomach to provide the infusion of vitamins (and most of that grass pellet beef comes from Australia, so who knows what it was really eating?).
Grass fed beef supermarket sales have reached a high with nearly $500 million for the 52 weeks ending April 2019 according to Bloomberg. However, this spike in market share shows a real issue with industry standard product labeling. The Federal Government standard label for grass fed meat is inconsistent and really offers no help to you in making sure you are getting the health and taste you seek.
So: it is important to research your source for Grass Fed beef.
Make sure it is also “Grass Finished”, and find out if the animals were fed “pellets”. Dried grass is still grass, but it will not have the health benefits you are seeking, and it will not marble the beef to allow for the optimum in tenderness and flavor.
Better yet: BUY LOCAL.
Your producer/farmer should be willing to let you come out to their ranch and see their program, to know for sure you are getting “Grass Fed and Grass Finished” beef. You should be able to actually see the animals and the way they are raised, handled and treated. You should be able to verify you are getting the real deal, and you should know where your beef comes from and what it really ate!
We invite you to come out to Bar 3 Ranch in Georgetown, TX and tour our cattle pastures and see our cattle. We love showing our customers where their grass fed and grass finished beef comes from.