[9 June/ Food Dive]

Demand for grass-fed beef is helping the sector grow to a size that may compete with feedlot systems. Grass-fed beef holds less than 1 percent of United States consumption, however, may have opportunities among consumers demanding more natural, healthy and animal-friendly consumables. Between 2006 to 2015, Beef consumption decreased 2.3 percent annually, however retail sales for grass-fed beef increased from USD17 million in 2012 to USD272 million in 2016. However, consumer perception that grass-fed beef tastes worse than conventional beef, import competition, processor shortages and grass-fed beef having on average a 71 percent price premium are significant challenges for the sector. Interest in grass-fed beef is rapidly growing, with the two biggest U.S. beef packers JBS and Cargill now carrying grass-fed beef.