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HB Ground Beef vs. The Grocery Store

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

Education is one thing that we love to do with and for our customers.


Back in the day, everybody had a link to a farm. Maybe it was a cousin or a friend. Maybe a

neighbor. Maybe they themselves had a small farm. Everybody had some kind of connection to

agriculture.


Times are certainly different! Did you know that only about 1% of the population of the USA is

still employed in farming? That’s 99% of people that aren’t on a farm. In fact, one individual

farmer now feeds over 155 people!


Because of that, we love to share knowledge where we can. We understand that we’re often the only source of information for direct-from-the-farm knowledge. It’s a role we welcome. We’d much rather you get your information from us than some attention grabbing headline or a PETA billboard. The best part is, we can back up what we say with a visit to the farm so that you can see it with your own eyes.


So that brings us back to our original question: what’s the difference between Hi Brau Ground Beef and Grocery Store Ground Beef?


We’ll cover the good stuff first. Our Ground Beef comes from a single animal that was born and

raised on a single, 3rd generation family farm. That farm is located in Newberry, South Carolina.

We can tell you what that cow ate, how old it was at harvest, which pastures it enjoyed (spoiler:

all of them), and exactly what breed it was.



We can tell you that it was never fed antibiotics, hormones, growth promoters, or anything to

modify the bacteria in the cow’s rumen. The majority of our beef comes from 100% grass fed

and grass finished animals. We also sell beef that has had limited grain finishing, which we

clearly note. It’s easy to choose which you want.


So what about grocery store ground?


Before I start, keep in mind that a quick Google will confirm all of what I’m about to say.


Grocery store ground is always sourced from multiple animals. In other words, whatever lean

meat (muscle) is left over from the carcass of an animal gets thrown into a big vat with all of the lean from other animals. Much of this lean comes from countries with inferior food quality

standards to the United States. Much of our imported beef comes from Brazil, Mexico, and

Argentina.



A major difference between American cows and foreign cows is the level of fat, or what farmers refer to as “finish”. Here in America, we have A LOT of corn. That corn is cheap and plentiful. Because of that, almost all American cows are finished on a diet of steamed, flaked corn. We’ll save the discussion of that diet for another blog, but for now just now that corn in that form is the cheapest and most efficient way to fatten cattle.


Foreign countries often lack cheap feed to fatten their cows, so they just don’t fatten them. This

results in inferior meat with not enough fat to make quality Ground Beef.


Don’t worry though! The industrialized beef industry has discovered a solution!


Basically, large beef plants import this lean, low fat and low quality beef from other countries. Then, they get the excess fat from American animals. Finally, they grind all of the constituent parts from hundreds or thousands of animals together to get the ratio they’re after. Sometimes they add brine, water, or gas to get that bright pink color that they believe the consumer wants.



Here’s the real kicker: even if all of the meat in your Ground comes from foreign cattle, it can be labeled as a Product of the USA. Yes! Seriously! The law states that as long as the beef is

packaged in America, then it’s a product of America. Kind of makes it hard to choose what

you’re eating, right?


Sometimes this Ground Beef has labels that tell you where it came from (which you can’t trust). Sometimes it says grass finished or organic. These labels can be trusted because the USDA has a program in place to verify those claims. It may also say that it’s Angus, but that can’t be trusted either (future blog post coming!).


More than likely though, if you’re buying from the grocery store, you’re buying from the meat

case. You won’t know how that beef was treated, where it’s from, what breeds were used, the

age at slaughter, the quality of the cow, the quality of the meat, what, if any, hormones or

antibiotics were used, what growth promoters were used, or…well, just about anything other

than that it’s beef.


We strive to raise the highest quality beef possible; something worthy of the Hi Brau brand. But

we usually try to avoid knocking other beef. There’s a place for all kinds of methods. You can

sometimes find a pretty decent steak at the grocery store. Maybe a decent roast. But the

Ground Beef? Well that’s one thing we just won’t eat.



Considering our Ground Beef can be had for about the same price as what the grocery store

sells…well, we’ll leave the decision up to you.



If you’re interested in trying our Ground Beef and seeing the difference for yourself, you can get individual packages here.



Or you can get bulk orders of 5 lbs, 12 lbs, or 24 lbs at these links:

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