Grass Finished vs Grass Fed Meats: What You May Not Know

POSTED ON: Jan 31 ,2020

Convenience foods have become more and more common in our grocery stores and in our homes, as the typically family struggles to maintain a healthy work life balance. Unfortunately, convenience foods are often ultra processed and contain a variety of chemicals, preservatives, and artificial flavours, all of which can negatively affect your health. As information becomes more readily available, consumers are starting to become more conscious of what they put into their bodies and how the foods they eat are produced.There has been a notable switch to organic produce and grains, restricting the consumption of packaged snack foods, using free range dairy, and grass fed meats in Vancouver. But with a rush of products trying to tap into the rapidly expanding market, do you really know what you are buying?

Grass Finished vs. Grass Fed Meats

Whether intentionally or not, many of the labels on the products we buy can be confusing, and often misleading. One particular area where labels can be deceptive is with the grass finished vs. grass fed meats. It would make sense that the terms could be used interchangeably, however this is not the case. Nearly all cattle start out on a grass diet, and therefore technically all beef can be described using the grass fed label, as at one point in their lives they were fed a grass diet. Where the label becomes deceptive however is that grass fed cattle are usually finished, that is the spend the last 2 to 6 months of their lives, on a high calorie grain feed in order to fatten them up quickly. The vast majority of beef available in your local grocery store can be described as grass fed. Grass finished cows, on the other hand, are pasture fed a diet that consists of primarily natural forage for the entire duration of their lives (except where weather conditions may require feeding with winter hay and grain during
colder months).

Why the difference? Ranchers may choose to grass fed and grain finish their cattle for a variety of reasons – it’s less expensive, requires significantly less land, and the cows are ready to be harvested much sooner. Cattle that are grass finished require more time to reach their ideal weight and require more land to graze, both of which significantly add to the cost of raising cattle. The next time you are purchasing meat, make sure to look for a grass finished label – or better yet you can purchase your grass finished meats direct from the farm!