Keeping an eye on retail trends, here is a roundup of what consumer magazines are saying about beef.
Want to improve your strength and endurance, increase your muscle mass while reducing fat, and live a long, healthy life? Beef may be the answer, according to leading health magazines.
Runner’s World magazine reports that protein-rich red and dark meats can boost your health and strengthen muscles.
“If you've stared down one too many chicken breasts at dinner lately, you're probably a runner. You know what's healthy, and chicken breasts—a low-fat protein—certainly are. But you may be surprised to find that other meats, from steak to pork, can boost your health and rebuild and strengthen muscles. ‘Meat provides nutrients runners need, like iron to help maintain energy levels," says Rikki Keen, R.D., a sports dietitian based in Anchorage. ‘It also supplies protein and amino acids that repair small muscle tears that occur during training.’
“Craving a juicy steak as a celebratory postrace meal? Go for it. A 3.5-oz. serving supplies 34% of your daily requirement for zinc, a mineral essential for a strong immune system. (Zinc is also abundant in cereal grains, but the body is better able to absorb it from meat sources, Keen says.) You'll also get 2 mgs of iron, a plus ‘because running, especially high mileage, breaks down red blood cells, so athletes need about 30% more iron than non-athletes,’ she says. That's about 10 mgs for men and 23 mgs for women daily. And B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into the fuel needed to make it through a training run, are particularly plentiful in beef.”
To check out the complete article, click here.
An article titled, “Can’t We Meat In The Middle?” featured in Women’s Health (WM) magazine says, “Enough with the carnivore-bashing: Many experts say the healthiest, most humane way to eat includes a balance of plants and animals.”
WM’s Jill Waldbieser writes, “Steaks, pork chops, chicken, you name it – I eat and enjoy it all. But maintaining this state of blissful, delicious abandon hasn’t been easy, not when this country is in the midst of a meatless boom. A 2008 Vegetarian Times study estimated that the vegan and vegetarian population of the U.S. (most of whom are women under the age of 35, like me) could grow to nearly six times its current size, reaching around 12 million. Beyond health, the gnawing question is, can you be compassionate and a carnivore? Here’s the rare side of the story.”
The article goes on to define labels -- natural, organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, Certified Angus Beef and rBGH-free or rBST-free. Additionally, it explains the pros and cons of grass-fed vs. grain-fed, with the writer concluding that, “Critics say the differences are negligible, that grain-fed’s fatty marbling makes for juicier meat, and that grass-fed meat is often more expensive and harder to find. Ultimately, it comes down to what you think is right for your budget, conscience and taste buds.”
While incorrectly bashing conventional feedlots, the piece encourages consumers to get to know the ranchers behind their beef. “Often, meat is going to taste better when the animal it comes from has been treated well.” Of course, in my experience, I haven't known a rancher who hasn't treated their animals well, making every effort to ensure they are well fed and cared for.
It also quotes Michael Pollan who usually bashes meat production, but says animal proteins are good for us. “Our bodies can’t turn grass into a viable protein the way herbivores like cows can. Meat proteins are part of a balanced diet,” he says.
While the article encourages consumers to consume less meat, which doesn’t directly correlate with the segment of the article that boasts red meat’s strong nutritional profile, the writer ends on a high note, “Yes, you can get the protein you need from plant-based sources like beans. But you have to admit, a meatball is one heck of a delivery system: easy, satisfying and tasty. Need it, want it, crave it -- forget the hang-ups and the judgment and the guilt, and just eat it if you want to. Make sure that the next cut of meat you eat is worth every bite. And savor it.”
Without a doubt, today’s consumers are hungry for more information about where their food comes. Here in the U.S., we can offer them a wide variety of choices, but understanding the labels, choosing the correct cut and preparing beef with confidence are challenges our customers face. We must be proactive in educating our consumers, so they can enjoy beef guilt-free, knowing it’s ethically raised, sustainable for the environment, and healthy for their families, too.
Don’t forget, May is Beef Month, and we are celebrating with a Roper Apparel Recipe Contest, with gift cards to be awarded each week in May. Whip up your favorite beef recipes and take photos! The contest will start May 1!
Also, Saturday, April 28, is the final day to vote in the Farm Boy Authentic Brand Spring Calving Photography Contest. Check out our finalists here and choose your favorite!