Beef is the culinary term for the meat of the cattle and specifically the meat of the skeletal muscle. Beef is being eaten from the prehistoric times by humankind, as it is a source of rich protein and necessary nutrients. The skeletal muscles of beef can be used by cutting into certain parts like rump steak, rib steak, rib eye steak, hanger steak and many more. It is not recorded that from particularly which time people started to cook beef as a part of their food and it is seen from the cave paintings that back then people used to keep cattle for milk and consumption of their meat (De Vries, Van Middelaar and De Boer 2015). In this regard, it can be said that raising cattle for food, fiber and power can be seen parallel with the human civilization’s development. In the primitive times, herding cattle was looked at as one of the symbols of prestige and among those primitive people cattle was seen as most valuable possessions (Dick, da Silva and Dewes 2015).
It can surely be said that British beef in terms of taste is way better than the beef produced in comparatively warmer areas like South America and Australia. The main reason behind this fact is the diet of the cattle (de Oliveira Silva et al. 2016). As it can be said that the grass fed British cattle is tastier and contains beneficial omega 3 fatty acids and are less harmful as grass fed beef contains more vitamins and lesser unhealthy fat. In contemporary times, beef ranks third as the most consumed meat in the entire world and acquire the 25% of the global meat market (De Vries, Van Middelaar and De Boer 2015). Countries like China, Brazil and United States of America are currently three largest consumers of beef, and in this regard, it is worth mentioning that per capita consumption of beef in Uruguay is greater than any countries in the world (Migliore et al. 2015). In accordance with the statistics provided by OECD, it can be said that in the land of Uruguay, people consume almost 40 kilograms of beef each year and in United States people consume almost 25 kilograms of beef per year. On the other hand, the rate of consumption of beef is lower in the African countries.
This section of this essay emphasizes on beef’s food value and the nutrients of beef. Beef falls under the category of red meat as it contains significant amount of iron than it is present in fish or poultry foods. Beef is generally consumed as ribs, roasts or steaks and minced or ground beef is consumed by putting it in burgers. The processed beefs include beef jerky, corned bef and beef sausages (de Oliveira Silva et al. 2016). On the other hand, lean beef contains more vitamins and minerals, which are beneficial for human body, and in lean beef the amount of zinc and iron is also higher and thus lean beef is considered as a part of a healthy diet regime. The primary composition of beef is largely protein and various types of fat. It can be said that in a piece of 100 gms of beef, the fat content should be near about 10% and the calorie count is almost 217 (De Vries, Van Middelaar and De Boer 2015). In beef the water contain is almost 60% and the amount of protein is almost 27 grams. Omega3 and omega 6 fatty acid contents are respectively 0.05 grams and 0.33 grams in per 100 grams of beef.
This part of this essay focuses on the production of beef along with the major issues and the driving forces. it can surely be said that due to increased health related awareness the demand of beef has decreased significantly over time and that has become a major threat to the industry of beef production (Dick, da Silva and Dewes 2015). Over the past two decades, the industry of beef has experienced significant structural and economic changes. The hazards that the beef industry is currently facing are the increased health awareness, change in eating habits and changed preferences of consumers. These are the factors that are affecting the stability of the beef industry nowadays; though the demand of beef is still intact in the Asian markets (de Oliveira Silva et al. 2016). To identify the demand factors, it can be said that, the economic value of beef industry immensely relies on the preferences of the consumers and the buying behavior of them. Some specific preferences of the consumers directly correlate with the socio-economic differences and any one can expect that the demands of beef will vary across these characteristics. It is a matter of fact that the preferences get changed over time as naturally the consumers need convenience, safer food and variety. In this regard, a devastating effect can be seen in the British beef market regarding the concerns relating to the safety concerns (Dick, da Silva and Dewes 2015). In this regard, it is worthwhile to mention that the preferences of the consumers to some extent can be manipulated by providing proper information to the consumers and by some promotional works. The surveys regarding this issue shows that in each British households the consumers focus on the factors like eating habits, helth concerns and other issues before including food in their diet charts (Cullen et al, 2016).
The production of beef is a complex chain and it includes many stages. Beef cattle are fed and raised in various methods, and those include ranching, feedlots, intensive animal farming and many more (Dick, da Silva and Dewes 2015). It is seen that to produce near about 500 grams of cooked beef it requires almost 12 kgs of fodder, more than 750 liters of water and 300 sq ft of land. After slaughtering beef gets divided by primal cuts where the meaty pieces get separated from the carcass during the butchering process (De Vries, Van Middelaar and De Boer 2015). In this stage steaks and the other subdivisions of beef are cut. On the other hand, prime cut is quite different from the primal cut. In prime cut the best quality of meat gets separated where the muscles of leg and the neck is utilized. In different nations and cuisines various cuts and names are present and at times it is seen that there is a same name for two different cuts. For an example, it can be said that American brisket cut is significantly different from the British brisket (de Oliveira Silva et al. 2016).
Beef can be generally categorized into four parts that are gras fed beef, halal beef, kosher beef and organic beef. Halal beef is the processing of beef in a manner that is prescribed according to the Islamic dietary laws. Kosher beef gets processed according to the dietary laws of the Jewish people (Dick, da Silva and Dewes 2015). Grass fed beef is the cattle that are raised on forage and the grain fed cattle gets raised initially on forage but gets finished in a feedlot (De Vries, Van Middelaar and De Boer 2015). On the other hand, organic beef gets processed by not adding pesticides, hormones and other chemicals, but the requirement of organic processing varies from one area to another.
In the processing of beef, aging and tenderization is a very important factor. To increase the tenderness of beef it is aged in order to let the proteolytc enzymes to weaken the muscle structure and the myofibrillar proteins (Acuff and Dickson 2017). Aging of meat can be done in various manners and those include wet aging and dry aging. Vacuum packaging to decrease yield loss and spoilage attains wet aging of the meat. On the other hand, dry aging is done by hanging the primal cut pieces in coolers where the humidity is controlled. The wet aging takes almost 45 days to produce beef of highest quality and taste and on the other hand dry aging needs 21 to 30 days to prepare tender and tasty beef for consumption (De Vries, Van Middelaar and De Boer 2015).
This section of this essay sheds light on the distribution of beef all over the world and deals with the major issues and the driving factors. It can be said that that America, Brazil, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand along with some of the Asian countries can be seen as the major distributors of beef globally.
United States of America is currently the largest producer of beef and currently they produce more than 20% of the beef in the world (de Oliveira Silva et al. 2016). On the other hand, they can export a very little percentage of their production due to heavy demand of beef in the domestic market of America. Argentina, on the other hand has more than 5% of the world’s beef cattle population, they export a large amount of beef each year, and almost 15% of the net production of beef (De Vries, Van Middelaar and De Boer 2015). Though dairy production is seen to be flourishing in Western Europe, but in countries like UK, Ireland the beef production is immense and countries like France, England and Germany are the highest producers of beef in the European market. Australia, in contemporary times has become one of the leading exporters of beef, and the northern part of the nation is famous for raising beef cattle and processing beef (Cullen et al, 2016).
There are various methods of consumption of beef and it can be said that beef can be cooked using dry heat, frying, moist heating and at times consumed in raw forms. This part of the essay focuses on the rate of beef consumption all over the world. It is seen that in the year of 2016, globally almost 130 billion pounds of beef was consumed approximately (De Vries, Van Middelaar and De Boer 2015). Uruguay ranks first in per capita consumption of beef and a chart is provided below to show the world beef consumption by country.
It is seen that in the year of 2017, the beef consumption in United States had been almost 57 pounds per capita and in the year of 2016 it was 55 pounds per capita. Thus it can be said that it is almost 2 % rise per year which is a good statistics for the beef industry. The consumption of beef is being increased as the production of beef is also increasing globally and the prices are falling (Acuff and Dickson 2017). In this regard, it can be said that the increase in consumption of beef does not ensure the demand of beef as people are consuming beef more as it is getting produced significantly in cheap price (Dick, da Silva and Dewes 2015). In the year of 2018, the retail price of beef will get decreased due to surpass production of beef and this will affect the prices of the food products for the beef cattle. The incessant improvement in beef trade will become a vital factor to minimize price pressure in the year of 2018 (De Vries, Van Middelaar and De Boer 2015).
This final section of this essay focuses on the sustainable future of the production of beef and that includes various policies, technology, innovation and programs regarding this issue. The aim to improve sustainability of production of beef should be seen from environmental, economic and social aspects (De Vries, Van Middelaar and De Boer 2015). The growing middle class population is increasing the demand for protein in cheaper prices and that can be looked at as one of the major long-term environmental challenges. In nations like Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay the emerging challenges are the deforestation due to raising beef cattle in large quantity (Cullen et al, 2016). It is seen that the amount of grains the beef farms need per year is making it mandatory to cut down forests and cultivate the land to produce that much of grains. Almost ten years ago, The department of Food and agriculture organization under the supervision of United States declared that the global livestock industry is contributing immensely in the imbalance of the environment as currently almost 30 to 40% of the surface of earth is dedicated to raise cattle (de Oliveira Silva et al. 2016). One can argue that grain fed beef raising does not affect the balance of the environment as they do produce do not feed on grass, but in this regard it can be said that a huge amount of land needs to be dedicated to irrigate the grains for the consumption of cattle.
Nowadays the majority of the production of beef are done in the pasture and it requires significant expertise to manage a huge range of land for optimal sustainability and profitability for the producers of beef. Significant water management and waste management is required for sustainable production of beef and nowadays many business organizations are coming forward with innovative ideas to sustainably produce beef for consumption (De Vries, Van Middelaar and De Boer 2015). The beef industry of United Kingdom is continuously investing to develop new reproductive and genetic knowledge along with technologies to improve the production of beef in a sustainable manner. The efforts they are putting to ensure the production of beef in a sustainable manner to ensure best quality and the adapting ability of the cattle in adverse conditions (Cullen et al, 2016). Some of the specified capabilities include artificial insemination, breeding objectives and breeding value assessments, embryo freezing and genetic material and equipment supply. The British and Australian producers of beef have developed and applied various nutrition strategies in their system of production to make sure that the cattle reach their full genetic potential and can attain optimal health along with productivity (Acuff and Dickson 2017). The UK based firms, some of the Australian companies have created a range of devices and equipments to use in extensive cattle production system, and that includes handling of cattle, feedlot, management of the firms and most importantly the processing of meat. Looking at the environmental challenges, various firms of Australia and United Kingdom provides necessary education regarding production and processing of beef in a sustainable manner and they arrange yearly programs to educate people about what they are fighting for (De Vries, Van Middelaar and De Boer 2015). Some of the colleges of those two nations are arranging various debates and educational programs to increase the awareness regarding this issue aiming a sustainable production of beef in the coming years worldwide.
Thus to conclude, it can be said that production of beef is a large industry that is widely spread all over the world. Though the increasing awareness regarding health issues are affecting adversely the consumption of beef but globally the demand of beef is still significantly higher than any of the red meat due to immense production of beef and cheaper pricing of beef. It is seen that above all currently beef is the most consumed red meat all over the world and as uncontrolled production of beef to satisfy the growing demands are taking place, the producers should opt for a sustainable process for beef production so that raising cattle would not harm the balance of the environment.
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