You hear a lot about Grass-fed beef vs Grain-fed beef on the internet. So, what is the difference and why should it matter?
Grain-Fed Beef Cows
The USA has vast swathes of land with huge herds of beef cattle roaming. These cows are very often eating a sparse diet of thin grasses and small shrubs, so they need more food and so grains supplement this diet. In some parts, Cattle are housed in large corrals and barns and fed grains throughout the year. The grains are soya and corn-based.
Grain-Fed beef is much fattier than Grass-fed beef. So, people are prepared to pay far higher prices for grass-fed beef.
Grass-Fed Beef Cows
Grass-fed has no real definition in the US and so, many cows are fed a ‘mainly’ grass-fed diet in order to achieve the higher prices that the label commands.
Here in the UK, we are lucky enough to have most of our cattle grazing on lush green grass throughout most of the year. Cows will also graze on silage or hay through the winter months. Both silage and hay are the product of grass. We have stricter rules on how we treat and slaughter animals too. Some farmers may finish their cows with beet, or a secret recipe handed down through the generations, and so are not truly grass-fed. When we state Grass-fed on our beef, here at Eat Great Meat, the cows have enjoyed a full grass diet.
Grass-fed beef is lower in calories gram for gram than grain-fed beef, as the fat content is different. There is way more Omega 3, up to 5 times as much! The amount of Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is around twice as much. This type of fat has health benefits. Obviously, the breed of cow and the cut you have gone for will make a difference in the fat content too. We, here at Eat great meat, offer Highland beef, Dexter, Aberdeen Angus, and Belted Galloway Beef, you can read more about them by clicking the links.
Meat comes packed with nutrients. Vitamins B12, B3 and B6 are all important in your diet. Of course, iron, in its most bioavailable form of Heme iron, along with selenium and zinc. In fact, meat contains pretty much all the nutrients a human body needs to survive. Though Grass-fed beef will contain a lot more of Vitamins A and E than Grain-fed beef.
Another request is for Grass-fed butter, which we in the UK can enjoy. The Americans usually stick to Kerry gold as it is one of the few grass-fed brands of butter exported there. There is nothing better than using a large knob of butter on your steak!
Grass-Fed vs Organic
Grass-fed does not mean the same as Organic. The farmer would grow grass organically and then feed the cows; he could then label the meat as organic. A grain-fed beef cow can also be organic if the grains were.
Do look for our deals on Grass-fed heritage beef.