The Grassfed Burger Gap

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by Nancy Matsumoto, Civil Eats,

 

The number of restaurants serving grassfed burgers is growing, but most are eschewing ground beef from small–scale U.S. producers in favor of foreign meat. The demand for grassfed beef is growing by at least 20 percent a year in the U.S. and the number of restaurants and burger chains serving grassfed and pasture–raised burgers is also growing rapidly. But just how they define and verify the practices behind those terms can be murky business. While some sustainable food advocates find the growth of the entire grassfed industry to be a heartening sign of shifting mass market demand, the grassfed burger market may be growing so quickly that it's undermining some of the original intention behind the shift.

It's not surprising that the more expensive burger is the only one sold in a full–service restaurant, nor is it surprising that it's the one most likely to be locally sourced. But what might surprise you is the source of those less expensive fast–casual grassfed burgers: The meat is most likely shipped in from outside the U.S. Most of the grassfed hamburgers being touted by the likes of Elevation Burger, Hardee's, and Carl's Jr. are made from animals that were raised on wide swaths of open land in Australia, New Zealand, or Uruguay.

Meanwhile, most small local farms and ranches are still struggling to find a market for their grassfed,  hamburger meat at a profit.


 

CLICK HERE to read the full article

 

 

Source:  NLPA Weekly Newsletter

 

Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.

 

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