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Grass Fed

What is it and why does it matter?

Bord Bia’s Grass-Fed Verified standard for beef sets a high standard, with at least 90% of the feed consumed by the animal on a fresh weight basis is grass or grass forage and they must spend a minimum of over 220 days at pasture throughout their lifetime.

Grass-fed is closely linked to animal welfare, an important influencer for beef and dairy buyers in European markets, as well as overall naturalness, which is much more important to Asian consumers. As a result, grass-fed is a key premium-driver for beef and dairy globally and should be communicated clearly to all beef and dairy buyers. Ireland sits in a very strong position on grass-fed as we have an independently verified standard and can make verifiable claims. 


Of beef consumers say grass-fed beef is worth paying more for (rising to 29% in Germany)​


Verifying Grass-Based Diets

As a result of consumer demand and Ireland’s dependency on pasture-based farming, Bord Bia has launched the Grass-Fed standard that verifies a 90% grass-fed diet for cattle and 220 days at pasture

Insights from 

Agenda Setters 

Not a key topic for agenda setters but there is recognition that Ireland has a good story to tell on grass-fed and this presents a marketing opportunity. It’s linked to animal welfare and the concept of humane treatment – living space and time outdoors, as well as having an indirect link to natural. As such, it works well with Ireland’s food and drink brand positioning globally as a source of natural produce. 


Buyers rank grass-fed as a mid-table topic in terms of importance. For meat and dairy, it is more important but still lower down the rankings, with a greater focus on animal welfare. Like animal welfare, more focus on the topic from EU buyers and less outside of EU. But, unlike high animal welfare standards, grass-fed is linked to naturalness, which is a key purchase criteria in the East. 


Similarly for consumers it is mid-table in terms of importance but as a driver for buying beef it is the #1 sustainability influencer of purchase, and the one most likely to command a premium globally, along with quality assurance. Grass-fed appears to be strongly connected with good welfare practices and “closer to nature” positioning which lends itself to a more premium positioning for consumers.   

For sectors to which this claim is relevant, it is a top tier influence in almost all markets.  It is somewhat less influential in Eastern markets where it drops to a “mid-tier” influence in favour of aspects relating to quality and safety.

21%​ of meat and dairy buyers say

when choosing a supplier, it’s important for their products to carry grass-fed verification
Insights & Implications
Insights & Implications

Review the headline insights from the Global Food Sustainability Outlook research.