BEEF Daily

Reaching Out To Meat Hipsters


Urban Dictionary sheds light on those who have recently discovered that meat is cool.

A 2009 survey for the Vegetarian Resource Group reported that 1% of Americans identified themselves as vegan, for health, environmental, ethical and, most likely, political reasons. Add a few more percentage points to the group of folks who consider themselves vegetarians. While there are many people who successfully follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, there are an increasing number of ex-vegans and vegetarians -- those who once preached about Meatless Mondays, but now enthusiastically enjoy animal proteins.

As pointed out by the American National CattleWomen yesterday on Facebook, Urban Dictionary has even coined a new phrase for these new carnivores: Meat Hipsters. The definition of a meat hipster is a person who used to be a vegetarian (when it was trendy), then vegans (when it was trendy). Now they are meat hipsters or "sustainable" & "conscious eaters.” Meat hipsters ritualize charcuterie, butchery, back-to-the-land farming and the myth of the pastoral agrarian paradise. They take classes in how to cut up whole hogs, composting and permaculture.

By the way, Urban Dictionary also defines a vegetarian as, “A bad hunter. Someone who survives by consuming not food, but the stuff that food eats. The vegetarian was forced to subsist on slower prey, such as the broccoli and carrot.”

Obviously, this website has fun with true definitions of words, and although this post so far has been a little tongue-in-cheek, I think there’s a critical point to consider.

With new research confirming beef as a part of a heart-healthy diet, as well as a growing movement to share our positive agriculture story, with added emphasis on sustainable environmental stewardship and animal welfare, we, as beef producers, have a great truth on our side. And we are in a prime position to gain loyal customers with new meat hipsters.

Think about it. These folks want some very specific things from the meat they eat. First, they want to know where it comes from. Second, they want to know the animals were well cared for. Third, they want to know that the environment is improved because of the product they are consuming. And, finally, they want their meat to be safe, healthy and delicious.

As beef producers, we simply have to introduce ourselves to these folks, and I’m confident they will fall in love with our stories. Instead of scoffing at the idea of ex-veggies, I’m taking it as an opportunity to create a dynamic movement where beef is at the center of it all. It’s got to start with you and me, so let’s take action.

  • Invite friends over for a winter barbecue.
  • Talk to someone new about what you do on the ranch at the grocery store or coffee shop.

It’s little things like this that will have a huge impact! And, to all you meat hipsters out there: welcome back! You’re going to love today’s beef. It’s safe, delicious, sustainable and raised by caring ranchers with strong family values. Get to know our story and dig in! Beef, it’s what’s for dinner!

Discuss this Blog Entry 8

Susan Gebhart (not verified)
on Feb 8, 2012

Great Article - totally agree with your take on it - I know folks like this and you are so right ! We do have a great story to tell .... a story that has such authenticity and passion about what we do. I am often suprised as I watch someone's face as I tell my story you can see the suprise fade to relief as they listen and invariably I get comments like "I had no idea you guys care so much, work so hard, have so many things to plan etc etc"

Jeff Parker (not verified)
on Feb 8, 2012

The best most motivating news I have heard in months. "Welcome Back" I love your style Amanda !

Tabuism (not verified)
on Feb 8, 2012

May all that have life be delivered from suffering - Buddha

See yourself in Others - Buddha

“Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: we are burial places! I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it. ~ Abraham Lincoln

A man can be healthy without killing animals for food: therefore, if he eats meat, he participat­es in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. ~ Leo Tolstoy

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." ~ Albert Einstein

Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for the survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. ~ Albert Einstein

Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends. ~ George Bernard Shaw

"Be the change you want to see in the world." There are many problems in the world we can't change, but with every meal, we have the power to create lasting positive change. ~ Mahatma Ghandi.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." ~ Mahatma Ghandi.

"Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punisments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way". ~ Martin Luther King Jr.(Many people don’t realize that his wife, Correta and son Dexter are both vegan).

on Feb 8, 2012

" the myth of the pastoral agrarian paradise" My farm is an Appalachian pastoral agrarian paradise - there is no myth. I get the gist of your article though. I have tapped into that vein of folks, maybe not former vegans, but people that want to know where their beef came from and what it was fed.

Diana (not verified)
on Feb 9, 2012

Our current culture is so biased to the hunter-gatherer theme. There is fossil evidence that plant food provided 80-90% of the diet. They did scavenged meat and bones from dead carcasses. This took a highly developed system to remember where plants were, their uses and the seasons and best times to use them.

Many anthropologists, esp. since more are women today, are starting to confirm this. Women are important in this research, since there was also a woman bias in the hnter-gatherer theme.

Biased interpretations of fossil remains have been used to support this mentality, but they are also being questioned. Read "The Evolution of Human Hunting".

Trinkaus says "Organized, planned, true big game hunting, they believe, did not begin until about the time of the last Glacial Maximum, or about 20,000 years ago. This is at least 20,000 years after the emergence of modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens."

There were cultures in frozen tundra, of course, that had to rely on animals.

There is nothing "conscious" about killing animals to consume their flesh." To paraphrase Gandhi, "the table fork it the most violent weapon on earth." "humane" slaughter is a myth.

All sorts of vitamins, amino acids, etc. that have been stated to be missing from veggies/fruits is starting to also unravel. Avocados have carnitine and mushrooms vit. D, as well as others.

A great book to read is "An Unnatural Order" by Jim Mason.

Farmer Larry (not verified)
on Feb 9, 2012

All of this propaganda sounds very well thought out, poetic even. The truth however, is in our mouths. When our teeth evolve to eat only vegetables then we should and will. Any guess on how long this will be?

It's so easy to become disconnected from our food these days, but the truth is this: Our current society could not function without animal proteins. Animal proteins have been critical for our brains to delvelop enough to create the art, language, society and technology which we all embrace. We would not be the apex species on the planet without animal proteins. If we had not discovered animal proteins we would have not become a civilized society. We'd be busy running from predators, hiding in caves and scavenging food however possible. Ironically, without animal proteins, we most likely would have never developed the thought process to even feel the way we do about animals!

Jay (not verified)
on Feb 10, 2012

Nice article. Our story is an important part of what these consumers want to know. However, I think it is important to add that these people want proof of where the animal came from; of how it was raised and cared for; and the impact the operation has upon the environment. If the proof accompanies the product, these consumers are willing to pay more, in some cares much more, for their beef products.
The good thing is our industry can do this today and we are servicing a consumer that we have had limited success in reaching until now.

on Feb 12, 2012

Great discussion on this topic! Loving the different perspectives. I think another push we can make is during February Heart Health month, as well as Valentine's Day. There are so many great ways to enjoy tasty beef, and I hope others will latch onto the hype behind our products! I truly believe we have a great story to tell, and nothing says love, party, fun, celebration, etc. better than a juicy steak!

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What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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