Got Goat… Meat?

April 22, 2011

The meat counter has experienced several makeovers lately. The latest to hit the shelves is both sustainable, mostly pasture raised and a nutritional knockout.

The meat counter has experienced several makeovers lately. There’s organic, free range, pasture raised, humane certified, vegetarian feed, grass fed, no antibiotics used and more! Today, because of these changes, we’re even seeing an increased consumer awareness regarding the type of meat and its sustainability and nutritional value come into play; note the almost exponential demand for bison meat. Soon enough, another red meat may hit the shelves across the country: goat meat. 
Goat’s products like goats milk and cheese have gone from the back corner refrigerated unit in a health food store to main stream supermarkets and restaurant chains like Au Bon Pain and Uno Chicago Grill, as well as McDonalds... in France. In any case goat’s products have carved their path as supermarket staples, so is goat’s meat next? 
Goat is the world’s most widely consumed meat; almost 70 percent of the red meat eaten globally is goat. Both halal and kosher, (of course depending on its slaughter) goat meat fits the bill for almost every occasion. 
According to the Maryland-Pennsylvania-West Virginia Meat Goat Producers Association, demand for goat goods in the region has increased 20 percent over the past five years; which in fact reflects a national trend. According to the USDA, goat meat production is increasing; and for the past three decades, the number of goats slaughtered has doubled every 10 years.  Approaching 1 million meat goats a year, and still growing, despite consumers cutting back on meat eating and the slump in the economy, goat loving customers might be on to something.  
Nutrition-wise, goat meat checks off all the boxes as a healthy animal based protein. For instance, a similarly sized serving has a third fewer calories than beef, and a quarter fewer than chicken.  Its fat content is also much less, up to two-thirds less than a similar sized portion of lamb or pork, and less than half as much as chicken.  
Goats are also considered browsers, not grazers and are thus more “environmentally friendly” and sustainable.
For the many reasons mentioned above, both retailers and suppliers should keep goat meat on their radar. In store tastings, nutrition facts demonstrations and first time buyer promotions are all ways to get customers more comfortable with goat.