Irish grass-fed beef poised to make the most of emerging niches in US
A new premium category in beef that is gaining market share in the US could offer Irish producers an opportunity, if research by Teagasc's Dr Aidan Moloney and UCD's Helen Roche bears fruit.
'Grass-fed' beef has secured a small but significant share of the US meat market in the few years that it has existed.
It is a reaction to the concentrate intensive feed-lots that produce the vast majority of US beef.
The definition for grass-fed beef requires the animal to be reared for its entire life on a grass-only diet.
This, in turn, maximises the levels of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), which is proven to have benefits on cholesterol, diabetes and as an anti-oxidant.
"There was a lot of excitement about CLA 15 years ago, and manufacturers started manufacturing them en masse," said UCD's Prof Helen Roche.
"But we subsequently found out that there are two different CLAs that have a good and bad effect on cholesterol," she added.