Navigating the meat aisle at the grocery store can feel like a maze. With labels like “grass-fed,” “grass-finished,” and “regenerative,” it’s enough to leave even the most savvy shopper scratching their head. What do these terms really mean? Does this mean organic? And what about antibiotics? Luckily, the world of online shopping for meat has become a thing – and its easier than ever to figure out where to buy regenerative meat online.
By buying quality meat online, you can not only find exactly what you’re looking for but also support some truly awesome farmers who care about their animals and the planet. Plus, you might save a few bucks by buying in bulk, too. In this article, we’ll break down these beefy terms into bite-sized pieces, share the differences, and even dish out some recommendations for our favorite brands that we’ve tried and loved.
You won’t find the word “conventional” on any meat package, but most beef (and all types of meat, for that matter) are raised conventionally, unless otherwise noted. Conventional beef comes from cattle that are often raised in feedlots, where they are confined to limited spaces and fed a diet primarily based on grain, such as corn and soy. This diet promotes rapid weight gain but can lead to digestive issues for the cattle, as it is not their natural diet.
In terms of meat quality, conventional beef tends to have a higher fat content, resulting in a marbled appearance and often a more flavorful taste. However, it may also contain higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including omega-6 fatty acids, which can be less desirable from a nutritional standpoint. The methods used in conventional beef farming are generally more focused on efficiency and profit rather than animal welfare or environmental sustainability.
Grass-fed beef, on the other hand, comes from cattle that are raised on a diet of fresh pasture and forage. This approach allows the cattle to live in a more natural environment where they can graze and roam freely. The diet aligns more closely with the cow’s natural digestive system and often leads to better animal welfare. Grass-fed beef typically has a leaner composition and a unique flavor profile that some people find more appealing. Additionally, grass-fed meat often has a more favorable omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio, as it contains lower levels of PUFAs and more balanced nutrition compared to conventional beef.
Although one thing to note is that not all grass-fed beef is “grass-finished” – meaning their diet will change towards the later years of their life (we’ll dive into details below.) And when it comes to the use of antibiotics, some grass-fed producers may choose not to use antibiotics, while others might use them as needed to treat illnesses. Same goes for pesticides – you’ll want to check for an organic label and look at the company’s FAQ’s if they’re not upfront about their farming practices. If avoiding antibiotics and pesticides are priority, do your research so you can support what you truly stand by.
Grass-Fed vs. Grass-Fed & Grass-Finished Beef
While both terms may seem similar, there is a distinct difference between grass-fed and grass-fed & grass-finished beef. Grass-fed beef means that the cattle have been fed a grass-based diet for a significant portion of their lives but may have been “finished” on grain to increase their weight before slaughter. This finishing phase can alter the meat’s fatty acid composition, raising the PUFA content and potentially shifting the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio closer to that of conventional beef.
On the other hand, grass-fed & grass-finished beef refers to cattle that have been fed a diet exclusively of grass and forage for their entire lives. This method often produces meat that maintains a leaner profile, preserves a more favorable balance of fatty acids, and exhibits the distinctive taste associated with a fully grass-fed diet. Consumers seeking the specific health and flavor benefits of grass-fed beef may prefer grass-finished products to ensure they are getting the desired product.
Regenerative beef farming takes grass-fed & finished principles even further by emphasizing practices that enhance soil health, biodiversity, and ecosystem function. This involves rotational grazing, where cattle are moved around different pastures to allow vegetation to recover, and often includes the integration of crops and other livestock. The focus on soil health leads to more nutrient-dense forage, which in turn can create meat with more vitamins and minerals.
The PUFA content in regenerative beef is similar to that in grass-fed beef, maintaining a more desirable fatty acid balance. Beyond the quality of the meat itself, regenerative beef farming aims to positively impact the environment by reducing erosion, increasing water retention in the soil, and sequestering carbon dioxide, creating a more sustainable and holistic approach to raising cattle.
Regenerative farming practices often involve a more holistic approach to animal welfare, soil health, and ecosystem balance, making it more likely that antibiotics are used sparingly or not at all. However, similar to grass-fed beef, the term “regenerative” alone does not assure that antibiotics were not used. It’s always a good idea to look for specific claims or certifications regarding antibiotic use, or to even reach out to the farmers themselves – these farmers are often extremely transparent with their processes!
Where to buy regenerative meat Online
Perennial Pastures Ranch
Perennial Pastures Ranch is a San Diego-based regenerative cattle ranch. They offers a delicious ground beef, ground ancestral blends, a wide selection of premium beef cuts & more.
Perennial Pastures is passionate about the animals they steward, the soils they’re reviving through our regenerative grazing practices and helping people live healthier and more connected lives. If you’re local, you can even do one of their ranch tours!
All of their meats are guaranteed regenerative, organic and grass-fed & finished.
Our favorite: the ancestral blend & beef sticks (they’re seriously addicting.)
use code THEHIVE for 10% off your first order
Grassroots Co-op prides itself on sourcing meats from family farms that follow regenerative and organic practices. Working with farmers who prioritize soil health, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability, they offer a variety of meats, including beef, pork, chicken, and lamb, with an array of cuts to please any palate.
Fan favorites and best sellers often include their grass-fed & grass-finished beef cuts and pasture-raised chicken, reflecting the high quality and taste that their customers have come to expect. where to buy regenerative meat online
Use code: LIZ to save 15% on your oder!
Force of Nature Meats
This Austin-based regenerative meat company has been making waves for its commitment to sustainability and quality. Sourcing their meats from regenerative farms across the United States, they focus on practices that enhance soil health and ecological harmony. They offer a diverse selection of cuts and meats, including beef, pork, chicken, and even exotic options like bison. where to buy regenerative meat online
Our favorite: The bison hot dogs and ancestral chicken blend (trust us – its the best ground chicken you’ll ever eat.)
Where To Buy Grass-Fed & Grass-Finished Meat Online
Butcher Box is a popular meat subscription service that sources its meats from farmers and ranchers who prioritize ethical and sustainable practices. They offer a wide variety of cuts and meats, including grass-fed beef, heritage pork, organic chicken, wild caught fish and a variety of seasonal offerings. where to buy regenerative meat online
We love that they offer certified grass-fed and grass-finished, organic, and pesticide-free options. Their beef is especially noted for being 100% grass-fed and grass-finished, offering a premium quality that many consumers appreciate. Fan favorites and best sellers often include their flavorful ribeye steaks and tender chicken breasts.
US Wellness Meats
Another great source of grass-fed and finished beef. US Wellness Meats sources their products from farms committed to grass-fed and grass-finished, organic, and pesticide-free practices.
Their offerings are diverse, including not only popular cuts of beef, lamb, pork, and poultry but also specialty items like tallow, organ meats and raw pet foods. Fan favorites include their flavorful free-range chicken and grass-fed steaks.