In praise of: grass-fed beef

We look at why a more traditional approach to raising cattle makes such a difference to the meat

At Spinneys, we take the quality of our meat very seriously, and we’re proud of the choice available in our stores. From this February onwards, there will be a greater selection of free range grass-fed beef on offer. In this article, we’ll run through the four key reasons that informed this decision. But first, let’s take a quick look at what grass-fed beef is.

To state the obvious, grass-fed beef comes from cattle that is raised on grass and is free to roam open paddocks. This is the natural, traditional way to rear cattle. It’s a longer and more expensive process, but in so many ways is absolutely worth the effort. It means that the meat is free from antibiotics and any added hormones, and sees the cattle live happier and far less stressful lives.

Great taste

In our view, farming cattle the grass-fed way does wonders for the taste and texture of the end product. Because the animals aren’t treated with Hormone Growth Promotants (HGPs), they grow at their natural speed. The benefits of this process are clear to see. Our beef is 100 per cent grass-fed, which means it has access to lush pastures for its whole life. As a result, the meat has a natural flavour. In addition, grass-fed beef is typically aged longer than grain-fed beef, which gives it a more mature taste.

That’s not all. This time spent roaming open paddocks means the beef is both leaner and more tender. There are two particular standout reasons for this: first, grass-fed cattle have a stress-free life, which means the muscles don’t tighten up at all, unlike with cattle farmed in other ways. And secondly, the spacious surrounds mean the cattle exercise and work their muscles, which results in beef that is leaner.

Good for you

One of the reasons we’ve increased our free range grass-fed beef selection is a result of the numerous nutritional benefits it brings. The meat contains high levels of omega-3 fatty. It is a good source of the antioxidant beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor that studies have revealed can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. And also of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a family of molecules that tests have shown also inhibits cancer development, while at the same time also helping muscle growth.

Producers we trust

Our relationships with producers don’t come about by chance or off the back of a quick phone call. Our team of meat buyers, headed up by Glen Thompson, travels the world to find farmers who produce the highest quality grass-fed beef – and who can guarantee they do so using sustainable methods. With our farmers in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, we’re confident we’ve located three of the best. It’s our policy to only work with one producer in each country. We practise this because it allows us to forge close relationships built on a foundation of trust and passion for quality all the way from the farm to the fork.

Animal welfare

The locations of our grass-fed beef producers is particularly important. From Australia’s East Coast, Buenos Aires Province in Argentina and Mount Taranaki on the west coast of New Zealand, our beef is sourced from beautiful parts of the world where farmland is spacious, unpolluted and ideal for livestock. This environment, combined with the respectful and sustainable farming methods, ultimately means the animals have happier lives.

To learn more about our range of grass-fed beef, head to our go-to guide on selecting the right cut for you.