You’ve likely seen the signs or stickers, marking packages of meat, eggs, or dairy at your local grocery or butcher shop.
“Free-Range,” some say. But, what does “free-range meat” actually mean? Is it a marketing tool? Or is something inherently better or different when it comes to the food we’re feeding our families?
Defining Free-Range Meat
Meat that is “free-range” refers to food from animals that have access to outdoor spaces or have free access to graze or forage for food. While many of these animals remain fenced in some way, free-range meat comes from animals who are living in traditionally more natural conditions, free to roam the outdoors for at least part of their day. However, while you may be picturing wide open fields and happy cows running in slow motion through the sunshine, there are some more facts you should know about free-range meat!
Is Free Range Meat Healthier?
Free-range meat is healthier as it is free of antibiotics and is of a higher meat quality due to the animal’s natural, high-protein diet. Grass-fed meat is also healthier for consumption as the meat typically contains more:
- Healthy acids
You can read more about the health benefits of free-range meat at The Taste.
Why Free Range Meat is Better for the Animal & The Environment
When the meat isn’t free-range, animals are more likely to have spent 24 hours of their day in a congested indoor environment. This means little to no sunlight (Vitamin D deficiency) and limited grazing opportunities. Contained, indoor-farmed animals are also at greater risk of disease and stress, as they have more unnatural diets and cannot engage in their natural habits.
Free-range meat on the other hand can help to benefit our crops and environment, as cows and chickens and pigs are able to protect farms from insects and can produce natural fertilizer.
Does Free Range Meat Taste Different?
At Maunders Marketplace, we believe that because the animals are happier and healthier, there’s no question that they would produce more delicious meat. While some people may note a slight difference in meat texture, this is mainly because free-range meat is leaner. For free-range meat recipes and meal ideas, be sure to ask our butchers!
Marvel at Maunders Marketplace
Free-roaming, cage-free, and pasture-raised are just a few more terms to look out for when looking to purchase free-range meat at Maunders Marketplace. If you have any questions, be sure to let us know! We’re here to discuss all things free-range with inquiring customers.