Antibiotic-Free Beef Won’t be a Trendy Anytime Soon

imagesAlmost every major company is going antibiotic-free with chicken. It has become a growing necessity in the chicken supplier market. It is also indeed a symbiotic shift for the poultry industry, as there is less chance of multi-drug resistant superbugs, and supplier’s earn more profits. However, while the market for antibiotic-free chicken is trending, the beef industry doesn’t have any intentions in adapting to this shift.

The Wall Street Journal indicates the lack of intention is because cattle ranchers have no need to go antibiotic-free. The price of red meat has reached historic highs for the past year, and hit a record average of $6.16 per pound in July. Moreover, suppliers are having record years, where this year the nation just barely escaped a brisket shortage. There is no reason for cattle ranchers to invest into creating antibiotic-free beef.

Cattle also have a longer life span then chicken. They generally live a year or more before slaughter, where as chicken live till 6 weeks. Because of the longer life span of Cattle, it becomes a lot more riskier for Cattle to catch illness requiring medication. Raising livestock, also, presents more variables as suppliers buy cattle from numerous middlemen, while chicken producers get thousands from one farm. While an all-natural beef can be priced at up to 80 percent more per pound, more costs and variables are considered like greater overhead, more paperwork and expensive auditing to prove an “all-natural” beef from suppliers.

The shift in food trends worldwide is produce that are natural and organic. While the beef industry doesn’t seem to be taking alternative measures to follow the trend, there is a growing demand for the organic beef market that can potentially catch ranchers’ attentions. The antibiotic-free beef currently accounts for 5 percent of the market, but as sales of produce labeled as natural are soaring in the past year, there can be a shift in the beef industry.

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