What are “Cows” in the spotlight now? Reasons for the Boom and Characteristics Explained

経産牛

Is beef from a delivered cow bad?

A “delivered cow” is a female cow that has given birth. Bred for breeding, a cow gives birth to one calf per year and finishes her service after about 10 years. Because they are often considered “tough” and “yellow fat,” most of them are shipped out as waste cattle and sold as minced beef, pet food, fertilizer, or disposed of without being distributed.

Why is the delivered cow being re-evaluated now?

Delivered cow, “whose meat quality was considered inferior to that of marbled meat.” However, in recent years, the process of re-breeding cattle for consumption, which takes six months to a year after they have finished their breeding role, has been attracting attention because it produces lean beef with a concentrated, rich flavor that is different from marbled beef.

Originally, in Japan, quality beef was considered to be tender and fatty beef from castrated bulls and unbred female cattle. In France, on the other hand, delivered cow is highly valued because of its firm flavor and chewy lean meat. “Charolais beef”, which is most commonly used in restaurants and hotels in France, is one of these beefs.

France Charolais Beef

Charolais beef from France

[Characteristics of transplanted beef]
  • Firm taste and rich flavor
  • Low in fat and healthy
  • Stable supply
  • Lower price compared to domestic beef and branded Wagyu

In addition to the reevaluation of meat, the added value of sustainable “Better Meat” as a way to “reduce the disposal of delivered cow and maximize the use of life’s blessings” and “support livestock farmers facing financial difficulties by allowing them to commercialize unranked cattle” are also reasons for the recent interest in this product.

Production of delivered cow

Friendly to elderly farmers and contributes to effective use of abandoned farmland

Abandoned farmland

With demand for delivered cow on the rise, the Western Japan Agricultural Research Center of National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and Mountainous Region Research Center of Shimane Prefecture have begun a joint effort to produce lean beef by finishing delivered cow on pasture.

As farmers age, the amount of abandoned farmland in Japan is increasing, and this unattended farmland has become a breeding ground for weeds, pests, and animal damage, as well as a source of illegal dumping of garbage. In this initiative, abandoned cultivated land is used for grazing by delivered cow of Japanese black wagyu. Because the cows eat wild grass, there is no need to mow the grass, and feed costs are almost negligible.

Lean beef from pastured cattle is healthier because it contains twice as much conjugated linoleic acid, which is expected to reduce body fat.The produced delivered cow of Japanese black wagyu are sold as “pasture-finished mature beef (abbreviated as “mature beef”)”, with high-end parts such as fillets and loins being offered at restaurants and other eating establishments, while other parts are sold as sliced meat and processed products are being developed.

Re-fattening dairy cattle for meat and creating new value

Dairy cattle Milk

In recent years, many dairy farmers have been on the verge of a business crisis due to high feed prices and declining market prices for calves, their by-product income.

Nichirei Fresh Inc. is working to add value to the 80,000 head of dairy cattle slaughtered each year in Hokkaido by re-fattening them to produce delicious edible meat. The fat content of beef is adjusted by feeding dairy cattle calcium fatty acids, which are rich in unsaturated fatty acids. This fattening with calcium unsaturated fatty acids is not only good for flavor, but is also environmentally friendly as it is known to suppress methane gas emitted as burps from cows.

Menu using aged beef

Light and easy to eat, grilled fillet of Hokkaido heirloom beef

Hokkaido delivered cow

TERRACE & DINING ZERO, a restaurant at Cross Hotel Osaka operated by ORIX Hotel Management Corporation, will offer grilled fillet of Hokkaido heirloom beef as its spring lunch menu from March 1, 2023. The beef is re-fattened for a thicker texture, with a light, easy-to-eat fat content and a rich, tasty lean flavor.

Okinawa delivered cow for the main course of the sustainable course

Halekulani Okinawa  restaurant

Halekulani Okinawa will hold a “Sustainable Dining” event from May 3 to 31, 2022 at Halekulani Okinawa’s KINGDOM Steak & Wine restaurant, using ingredients that are produced with consideration for the environment and production methods.

The menu is supervised by Chef Fumio Yonezawa, who is also the first Japanese chef to publish a book of vegan recipes. The main dish is Okinawan matured aged beef from Okinawa, grilled over a high charcoal fire, and the menu uses alternative milk and plenty of organic Okinawan vegetables.

The flavor of beef from delivered cow is used to create a burger that is easy to enjoy.

delivered cow burger

Parade LLC., a joint venture engaged in regional development projects, began selling the “Pineapple Bread Burger,” an original product of “NIPPON Wagyu Project” utilizing delivered cow, on February 13, 2023. The product will be available at the storefront of “Meat Kobo Shikata” in Nakameguro, Tokyo, in a limited number of 40 per day, for takeout only.

The Pineapple Bread Burger is made from a piece of delivered cow that had previously been discarded and cooked softly with a unique method, so that the concentrated flavor of the beef can be savored. The bun is made from pineapple buns, a Hong Kong soul food made by baking cookie dough on top of bread. Handmade pineapple buns are used even in uneven shapes to prevent food loss.
[Related article] Supporting the Livestock Industry by Utilizing “Delivered Cow” that has Experienced Childbirth; One-Piece Beef Hamburger Released

Editor’s Note

Meat  restaurant

In recent years, more and more people are making food choices such as vegan and vegetarian, which do not eat meat, for health reasons, environmental concerns, and animal welfare. On the other hand, there are still many customers who have high expectations for meat-based menus. It would be a boost to the spread of the sustainable food industry for restaurants to learn about and offer sustainable ingredients at their restaurants, such as Better Meat, including the delivered cow introduced in this article.

[Reference site] Council of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Technology: Labor-saving, low-cost production on abandoned farmland
[Reference site] Considering the re-fattening of passerine cattle – as a new tool for regional development.
[Reference site] Toritsu Co.
[Reference Site] [Cross Hotel Osaka] A spring lunch menu featuring ingredients that remind you of the arrival of spring is now available!
[Reference Site] Halekulani Okinawa “Sustainable Dining” will be held.

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