A 2009 survey for the Vegetarian Resource Group reported that 1% of Americans identified themselves as vegan, for health, environmental, ethical and, most likely, political reasons. Add a few more percentage points to the group of folks who consider themselves vegetarians. While there are many people who successfully follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, there are an increasing number of ex-vegans and vegetarians -- those who once preached about Meatless Mondays, but now enthusiastically enjoy animal proteins.
As pointed out by the American National CattleWomen yesterday on Facebook, Urban Dictionary has even coined a new phrase for these new carnivores: Meat Hipsters. The definition of a meat hipster is a person who used to be a vegetarian (when it was trendy), then vegans (when it was trendy). Now they are meat hipsters or "sustainable" & "conscious eaters.” Meat hipsters ritualize charcuterie, butchery, back-to-the-land farming and the myth of the pastoral agrarian paradise. They take classes in how to cut up whole hogs, composting and permaculture.
By the way, Urban Dictionary also defines a vegetarian as, “A bad hunter. Someone who survives by consuming not food, but the stuff that food eats. The vegetarian was forced to subsist on slower prey, such as the broccoli and carrot.”
Obviously, this website has fun with true definitions of words, and although this post so far has been a little tongue-in-cheek, I think there’s a critical point to consider.
With new research confirming beef as a part of a heart-healthy diet, as well as a growing movement to share our positive agriculture story, with added emphasis on sustainable environmental stewardship and animal welfare, we, as beef producers, have a great truth on our side. And we are in a prime position to gain loyal customers with new meat hipsters.
Think about it. These folks want some very specific things from the meat they eat. First, they want to know where it comes from. Second, they want to know the animals were well cared for. Third, they want to know that the environment is improved because of the product they are consuming. And, finally, they want their meat to be safe, healthy and delicious.
As beef producers, we simply have to introduce ourselves to these folks, and I’m confident they will fall in love with our stories. Instead of scoffing at the idea of ex-veggies, I’m taking it as an opportunity to create a dynamic movement where beef is at the center of it all. It’s got to start with you and me, so let’s take action.
- Post a story about ranch life on your Facebook profile. (Become a fan of BEEF Magazine).
- Tweet a photo of your ranch on Twitter (Follow our tweets @BEEFMagazine).
- Add a recipe on Pinterest.
- Reshare a vintage “Beef It’s What’s For Dinner” commercial on YouTube.
- Invite friends over for a winter barbecue.
- Talk to someone new about what you do on the ranch at the grocery store or coffee shop.
It’s little things like this that will have a huge impact! And, to all you meat hipsters out there: welcome back! You’re going to love today’s beef. It’s safe, delicious, sustainable and raised by caring ranchers with strong family values. Get to know our story and dig in! Beef, it’s what’s for dinner!