In our last couple of articles we've written about why regenerative agriculture can, in the short and long term, help mitigate against the devastating effects of the current cost of living crisis which will make conventional food more expensive.
The fossil fuel crisis
Firstly is the dramatic reduction in the requirement for fossil based fuels on the farms that practice these methods of farming. Fossil fuels are heavily used in agriculture not only in powering machinery, a typical tractor is getting as little as 4 mpg and can be running for as many as 80 hours a week at certain times of the year, that's a lot of GHG emissions. As we've seen recently the price of diesel has skyrocketed and this cost will be passed down to the consumer.
The second biggest use of fossil fuels is of course fertiliser. Nitrogen fertilizer is a fossil fuel product, made primarily from natural gas. We can think of a modern nitrogen fertilizer factory as having a large natural gas pipeline feeding into one end and a large pipe coming out the other carrying ammonia, a nitrogen-rich gas. To produce, transport, and apply one tonne of nitrogen fertilizer requires an amount of energy equal to almost two tonnes of petrol.
Most of our producers use no fertiliser and no tractors having replaced them with quad bikes that give a more respectable 20 mpg and are also used considerably less when no fertiliser is being spread, one of our farmers has switched to an electric quad charged from solar roof panels to be completely fossil fuel free.
We've covered this before in our previous two articles but the simple truth is that regenerative farming can be free from fossil fuel usage which means that prices of food produced will not have to reflect current fossil fuel prices.
We're already feeling the effect of the cost of living crisis in our personal lives and this will inevitably cause many consumers to reconsider how much they spend on food and this is the subject of this article.
Calories versus nutrition
We have to consume food, we have no choice. In a broad sense we can say that food provides us with calories and nutrients, these are distinctly different.
A calorie is simply a measurement of energy that a food stuff can provide to us and it is simply measured by burning the particular food in a machine called a calorimeter which measures how much extra heat is produced.
All foods contain calories but not all calorie containing foods carry nutrients. Many highly processed foods contain very little nutrition but do provide calories, examples of this would be simple refined sugars or alcoholic spirits, these foods are often described as 'empty calories'
As a first world nation we are generally considered to be calorie rich and nutrient poor, that is to say we're overfed and undernourished. Many severely obese people are chronically deficient in many key nutrients from consuming foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients.
High quality well farmed, whole natural foods are said to be 'nutrient dense', that is to say that they provide us with proportionally large amount of nutrients per calorie, unfortunately these foods are often much more expensive than the industrial versions which are high in calories and low in nutrition.
So is budgets are tight and we need to consider getting the maximum nutrition per calorie we can, with low environmental impact and without a price what can we eat? In a word, offal.
The superfood very few people eat
We've lost our taste for organ meats, many of us of a 'certain generation' are traumatised by school meals of overcooked liver. If you overcook liver, it becomes tough and loses its delicate texture and is bitter in flavour with a strong mineral taste.
Liver is a true superfood, it probably offers us more nutrients per calorie per £ than any other food available to us.
A 100g serving of beef liver provides the following: (from Healthline.com)
Here are the nutrients found in a (100-gram) serving of beef liver (1):
Vitamin B12: 3,460% of the RDI. Vitamin B12 helps the formation of red blood cells and DNA. It is also involved in healthy brain function (
Vitamin A: 860–1,100% of the RDI. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, immune function and reproduction. It also helps organs like the heart and kidneys function properly (
Riboflavin (B2): 210–260% of the RDI. Riboflavin is important for cellular development and function. It also helps turn food into energy (
Folate (B9): 65% of the RDI. Folate is an essential nutrient that plays a role in cell growth and the formation of DNA (
Iron: 80% of the RDI, or 35% for women of menstruating age. Iron is another essential nutrient that helps carry oxygen around the body. The iron in liver is heme iron, the kind most easily absorbed by the body (
- Copper: 1,620% of the RDI. Copper acts like a key to activate a number of enzymes, which then help regulate energy production, iron metabolism and brain function (8).
Choline: Liver provides all of the Adequate Intake (AI) for women and nearly all of it for men (AI is used because there is insufficient evidence to set an RDI). Choline is important for brain development and liver function (
OK, you might say, this is all true but I hate liver... we have the solution!
Currently our best selling product is fortified mince, which is 100% pasture fed regenerative beef mince which is 20% by weight beef liver and when we have it, some beef heart, in one 500g pack there is 125g of liver, more than listed above and the beauty of it is, for those who don't like it, you can't taste the liver. when cooked with the mince is just a little extra rich and meaty.
As the coast of living crisis affects more of us we have choices to make, choose 'cheaper' foods which are high in calories, highly processed, highly damaging to the environment and low in nutrients or nutrient dense foods produced with very low impact and offering a huge nutrient load per calorie.
Fortified Mince price comparison
We sell our fortified mince at £11 per kilo or £5.50 for 500g and we've done everything we can to keep this price low and we think, it compares very favourably.
We're cheaper than these:
and WAY cheaper than this 250g pack of highly processed soy!
The difference between organic, grass fed and regenerative.
None of the brands listed above are 100% grass or pasture fed meaning the animals will have been fed grains at the finishing stage, grains which in all but very rare cases originated from another farm and therefore required transportation using fossil fuels.
Organic means that the meat was produced on land that has been certified and the only 95% of the feed grains will have to be organic, this could, in theory include 5% o soy as long as it's not GMO.
Regenerative is different.
Our beef is produced in regenerative systems. It is always 100% pasture fed, no grains are used, no external feed. This is a very low to zero input system which as far as the farm gate, can be free from any fossil fuel dependence. We think that makes our fortified mince a true superfood, it's a superfood for nutrients, a superfood for impact and a superfood for value for money.
As for the soy based replacement.... don't get us started!