ORGANIC BEEF

Richard Dawkins: When I see cattle lorries, I think of the railway wagons to Auschwitz.

Going forward, rearing cattle on certified organic fodders is turning out to be more profitable than conventional practices. Growing concerns of consumers over food safety has propelled the demand for organic foods, and has incidentally affected the global beef production. Particularly in developed markets, the demand for organic beef meat is gaining traction pertaining to the rising confidence of consumers towards organic beef over regular beef. The main difference between these options lies in the fodder fed to the cattle, at which point organic fodder is healthier and nutritious than regular cattle feed.

In 2017, over 1.5 million metric tonnes of organic beef meat is anticipated to be consumed across the globe. Future Market Insights’ recent study on global organic beef meat market projects that by the end of this year, the global market will be valued a little over US$ 8.8 Bn. Large retail chains such as Whole Foods are already boosting the presence of organic agricultural produce in their store shelves, and this trend is also expected to promote the availability of organic beef meat. TESCO, a prominent retail chain in the UK, is following this path by offering organic beef in various processed formats, and under its own label.

The report projects that by the end of 2027, the value of global market for organic beef meat will get doubled, surpassing US$ 16.4 Bn and reflecting a healthy CAGR of 6.4%. Higher on-shelf availability of organic beef meat products in countries such as the UK vindicates the report’s key finding that observes Western Europe as a leading region in the global market. The report anticipates that through 2027, around 30% of organic beef meat consumed in the world will be concentrated in Western Europe.

Highlights from the report’s regional analysis on the global organic beef meat market indicate North America and Western Europe as dominant regions. Beef is a primary source of food for consumers across these developed regions. Moreover, consumers in developed countries such as the US and Canada are more aware about organic certified foods, and how they are better than conventional food products. Throughout the forecast period, over two-fifth of organic beef meat sold in the global market will be accounted by consumers in the US and Canada. 

With North America at the forefront, the global organic beef meat market is also expected to witness considerable contribution from Western European countries. The organic beef meat market in Western Europe is pegged to reach nearly US$ 5 Bn in value towards the end of 2027. On the other hand, the demand for organic beef meat products will lose traction in the Asia-Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) region. A remarkable highlight of these regional projections is that the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region, which exhibits a higher contribution to global beef consumption, will be accounting for not more than 2% share of global organic beef meat revenues throughout the forecast period.

The report has recorded the market’s growth across two sales channels, direct and indirect. In 2017, indirect sales of organic beef meat is projected to account for more than 60% share on global market revenues, and this contribution is slated to witness a significant boost towards the end of forecast period. Across both sales channels, the report has witnessed a considerable rise in demand for processed organic beef meat. By the end of 2017, global sales of fresh organic beef meat will be raking revenues just over US$ 2.1 Bn, whereas organic beef meat in processed format will dominate with more than 75% revenue share. Towards the latter half of the forecast period, the global demand for processed organic beef meat will further gain traction, bringing in revenues worth over US$ 12.8 Bn.

The report has profiled key players partaking in the global organic beef meat market, which include JBS Global, Danish Crown, Tyson Foods Inc., Meyer Natural Foods, Perdue Farms, OBE Organic, Australian Organic Meats Group Pty Ltd., Eversfield Organic Ltd., Verde Farms, LLC, Blackwood Valley Beef, Arcadian Organic & Natural Meat CO Pty Ltd.

Some manufacturers of organic beef meat products are focusing more on offering organic beef in packaged products. Companies are also prioritizing in building up a strong supply chain management with farmers selling beef. However, high production costs and presence of substitutes such as grass-fed beef are observed to be key restraints curbing the growth of global organic beef meat production.

Global Animal Partnership (GAP) is an international animal welfare rating program which includes the following:

  • Using breeds with measurably improved welfare because most chickens are bred to grow so fast that many collapse under their own weight
  • Ending extreme crowding and providing each chicken more floor space
  • Keeping chicken litter clean enough to prevent eye sores, flesh burns, and respiratory distress
  • Improving lighting standards, including at least six hours of darkness each night and 50 lux of light during the day, to decrease illness and disease
  • Ending live-shackle slaughter in favor of less cruel systems, such as controlled-atmosphere stunning, which eliminates the suffering caused by shackling, shocking, and slitting the throats of conscious animals

It is time for leading restaurant chains to ban needless abuse from their supply chains. Consumers are demanding companies ban the cruelest practices from their supply chains, and those that fail to do so are quickly falling behind competitors. The best way for individual consumers to protect chickens and other farmed animals from cruelty is simply to leave them off their plates.

Here are five reasons for giving up meat:

  1. The environmental impact is huge

Livestock farming has a vast environmental footprint. It contributes to land and water degradation, biodiversity loss, acid rain, coral reef degeneration and deforestation.

Nowhere is this impact more apparent than climate change – livestock farming contributes 18% of human produced greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. This is more than all emissions from ships, planes, trucks, cars and all other transport put together.

Climate change alone poses multiple risks to health and well-being through increased risk of extreme weather events – such as floods, droughts and heatwaves – and has been described as the greatest threat to human health in the 21st century.

Reducing consumption of animal products is essential if we are to meet global greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets – which are necessary to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. 

  1. It requires masses of grain, water, and land

Meat production is highly inefficient – this is particularly true when it comes to red meat. To produce one kilogram of beef requires 25 kilograms of grain – to feed the animal – and roughly 15,000 liters of water. Pork is a little less intensive and chicken less still.

The scale of the problem can also be seen in land use: around 30% of the earth’s land surface is currently used for livestock farming. Since food, water and land are scarce in many parts of the world, this represents an inefficient use of resources.

  1. It hurts the global poor

Feeding grain to livestock increases global demand and drives up grain prices, making it harder for the world’s poor to feed themselves. Grain could instead be used to feed people, and water used to irrigate crops.

If all grain were fed to humans instead of animals, we could feed an extra 3.5 billion people. In short, industrial livestock farming is not only inefficient but also not equitable.

  1. It causes unnecessary animal suffering

If we accept, as many people do, that animals are sentient creatures whose needs and interests matter, then we should ensure these needs and interests are at least minimally met and that we do not cause them to suffer unnecessarily.

Industrial livestock farming falls well short of this minimal standard. Most meat, dairy and eggs are produced in ways that largely or completely ignore animal welfare – failing to provide sufficient space to move around, contact with other animals, and access to the outdoors.

In short, industrial farming causes animals to suffer without good justification.

  1. It is making us ill

At the production level, industrial livestock farming relies heavily on antibiotic use to accelerate weight gain and control infection – in the US, 80% of all antibiotics are consumed by the livestock industry.

This contributes to the growing public health problem of antibiotic resistance. Already, more than 23,000 people are estimated to die every year in the US alone from resistant bacteria. As this figure continues to rise, it becomes hard to overstate the threat of this emerging crisis.

High meat consumption – especially of red and processed meat – typical of most rich industrialized countries is linked with poor health outcomes, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various cancers.

These diseases represent a major portion of the global disease burden so reducing consumption could offer substantial public health benefits.

Currently, the average meat intake for someone living in a high-income country is 200-250g a day, far higher than the 80-90g recommended by the United Nations. Switching to a more plant-based diet could save up to 8 million lives a year worldwide by 2050 and lead to healthcare related savings and avoided climate change damages of up to $1.5 trillion.

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