America’s Beef Supply Has Evolved

The internet is flooded with trendy diets, weight-loss programs and conflicting advice on what a healthy lifestyle is – often leaving individuals confused about what is “good” and “bad” to eat. A healthy diet is important to achieve and maintain for optimal health; everyone has different dietary and nutritional needs, so no single diet is one size fits all. Fortunately, ongoing research provides Americans with new information about nutritious, lean food options that support a healthy diet – no matter how they choose to eat.

The food supply is dynamic
Dietary habits vary across the United States, but for many Americans there are a number of food choices available. Not every individual has the same dietary preferences and nutritional needs. In order to ensure accurate, and up-to-date nutritional data is available, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR) exists. The SR serves as the foundation for food and nutrition research, policy and practice; tasked with keeping data current and correct.  This information can be valuable to individuals who maintain or want to adopt a nutritious, healthy diet.

Sirloin steak in 1960 vs 2013

The sirloin steak has evolved over the past several decades

Consumers demand lean beef

Nutritious foods are high in demand. Americans consume 1.7 ounces of beef daily, on average, so today’s leaner beef offers consumers the flavor they crave and the nutrition they need all in one delicious package. Supplying consumers with leaner beef that simultaneously delivers on nutrition, flavor, safety and convenience is the result of a successful collaboration spanning at least four decades.

This effort involves the entire beef supply chain, starting with America’s cattle farmers and ranchers who raise leaner animals, packers and processors who closely trim beef cuts and finally supermarkets and restaurants, offering a growing number of lean beef cuts to consumers. Changes in cattle breeding and management coupled with extensive trimming of visible fat from retail cuts have resulted in the wide-spread availability of lean beef to U.S. consumers. All of these efforts originated with consumers’ demand for leaner beef and offer evidence that America’s beef community is committed to accommodating consumers’ health needs and responding to public health guidance.

Chart depicting the increase in lean cuts of beef

The number of cuts that meet USDA guidelines for lean has increased over the past several years

A healthy diet with lean beef

Today, 65% of the beef cuts sold in U.S. meatcases is lean and there are 38 cuts of lean beef for consumers to enjoy. These cuts offer consumers more beef options suited to their needs for nutrition, flavor and cooking methods of choice and convenience. Whether you prefer an easy steak wrap on the go, or beef stir-fry with the family, there are plenty of lean beef options to fit into your personal diet. Americans are able to enjoy a variety of lean beef and other health food options, thanks to farmers, ranchers, packers, processors, researchers, nutrition professionals and even consumers who have worked together to help shape the evolution of today’s lean beef.

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