Are you a burger lover who cares about the quality of the meat in your patty?
Do you want to know if Five Guys, one of the most popular fast food burger chains in the United States, uses grass-fed beef?
While some fast food restaurants are making strides towards using healthier and less processed ingredients, it can be difficult to discern what’s really in your burger.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Five Guys’ beef sourcing and compare it to other fast food chains that use grass-fed beef.
So, grab a seat and get ready to sink your teeth into some juicy burger facts.
Does Five Guys Use Grass Fed Beef?
According to Five Guys’ website, their beef is “100% fresh, never frozen, all-natural beef.” However, they do not mention anything about their beef being grass-fed.
When asked directly about their beef sourcing, Five Guys stated that their beef comes from cattle “mainly raised on corn” and a diet that includes vitamins and corn. They also mentioned that their cattle may be administered antibiotics if they are sick and need to be nursed back to health.
It’s important to note that corn-fed beef is not the same as grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef comes from cattle that have only eaten grass and forages throughout their entire lives, while corn-fed beef comes from cattle that have been fed a diet primarily consisting of corn and other grains.
While Five Guys does not use grass-fed beef, there are other fast food chains that do. For example, Chipotle uses grass-fed beef from Australia and Elevation Burger claims to use 100% organic, grass-fed, free-range beef.
What Is Grass-fed Beef?
Grass-fed beef comes from cattle that have been raised on a diet consisting mainly of grass and other forages. This means that the cows have not been fed any grains, corn, or soy. Grass-fed beef is typically considered to be healthier and more sustainable than conventional beef because it contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients.
Cows that are raised on a grass-fed diet are also typically treated more humanely than those raised on conventional feed. They are allowed to graze in open pastures and are not confined to small spaces or feedlots. This means that they have more space to move around and are less likely to become sick or stressed.
The Benefits Of Grass-fed Beef
Grass-fed beef is known for being one of the most nutrient-dense proteins available. Unlike grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function and can reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, grass-fed beef is a great source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, iron, and zinc.
One of the biggest benefits of grass-fed beef is that it contains higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of fat that has been linked to weight loss and reduced inflammation. CLA has also been shown to have anti-cancer properties, making grass-fed beef a healthier choice overall.
Another benefit of grass-fed beef is that it is lower in total fat and calories compared to grain-fed beef. This makes it a great option for those who are watching their weight or trying to maintain a healthy diet.
Grass-fed beef also has a more robust, gamier flavor compared to grain-fed beef. This is due to the fact that grass-fed cows are free to roam and graze on natural vegetation, which gives their meat a distinct taste.
Finally, grass-fed beef is often produced using more ethical and sustainable farming practices. Cows are allowed to graze on open pastures, which is not only better for their health but also better for the environment. Additionally, grass-fed farming practices can help improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Five Guys’ Beef Sourcing
Five Guys’ beef sourcing is primarily focused on using 80/20 ground chuck-high quality ground beef containing only steer and heifer meat, which does not include any cow meat or fatty trimmings. They do not use ammoniated procedures to treat their ground beef, which means that there is no “pink slime” in their burgers.
However, when it comes to the source of their beef, Five Guys uses grain-fed cattle that are mainly raised on corn. They mentioned in an email response that their cattle may be administered Anabolic Steroids only if the animal gets sick and needs to be nursed back to health. When pressed for more information on antibiotics, they stated that animals may receive antibiotics if sick and not “without good reason.”
It’s clear that Five Guys does not use grass-fed beef and instead relies on grain-fed cattle. While this may not be ideal for those looking for grass-fed options, it’s important to note that Five Guys does not claim to use grass-fed beef in their marketing or branding. For those looking for grass-fed options, there are other fast food chains such as Chipotle and Elevation Burger that do offer grass-fed beef on their menus.
Other Fast Food Chains Using Grass-fed Beef
While Five Guys may not use grass-fed beef, there are several other fast food chains that prioritize the use of grass-fed beef in their menu items. Elevation Burger, a Virginia-based chain with over 40 national and international locations, serves up organic, grass-fed beef and free-range chicken with no antibiotics. The chain claims to use 100% organic, grass-fed, free-range beef, elevating the typical burger joint standards.
Chipotle, despite its controversial reputation, also uses grass-fed beef from Australia. According to Chipotle’s director Steve Ells, the meat produced by their ranchers is “grass-fed” in the truest sense of the term. The cattle spend their entire lives grazing on pastures or rangelands, eating only grass or forages. Furthermore, the cattle are raised without added hormones, antibiotics, or growth promotants by ranchers committed to humane animal husbandry.
BurgerFi is another fast food chain that offers grass-fed beef burgers, as well as chicken and veggie burgers and natural-beef hot dogs. Founded in Florida, BurgerFi is considered a “fast-casual” restaurant that has grown into a national chain that continues to raise standards for fast food beef.
It’s important to note that while more fast food chains are moving towards using grass-fed beef and other healthier ingredients, there is still a long way to go in terms of improving the quality of meat used in fast food. The Chain Reaction scorecard released by advocacy groups like Consumer Reports and the Natural Resources Defense Council serves as a reminder that the appropriate use of antibiotics in livestock has been widely debated among farmers and environmentalists. As consumers become more aware of the impact of their food choices on their health and the environment, it’s likely that more fast food chains will continue to prioritize the use of grass-fed beef and other healthier ingredients in their menu items.
The Impact Of Grass-fed Beef On The Environment
In addition to the health benefits of grass-fed beef, there are also environmental benefits to consider. Grass-fed beef is typically raised on smaller, family-owned farms that practice sustainable agriculture. These farms often use rotational grazing techniques, which involve moving cattle to different areas of pasture to prevent overgrazing and promote healthy soil. This can lead to increased biodiversity and a reduced need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
On the other hand, grain-fed beef is often produced on large-scale feedlots, which can have negative environmental impacts. These feedlots generate large amounts of waste and contribute to air and water pollution. The production of corn and other grains used in feed also requires significant amounts of water and contributes to deforestation.
By choosing grass-fed beef, consumers can support more environmentally sustainable farming practices and reduce their carbon footprint. While Five Guys may not currently use grass-fed beef, consumers can still make a difference by choosing to support restaurants and food companies that prioritize sustainability and ethical farming practices.
Conclusion: Is Five Guys’ Beef Worth The Price?
Overall, Five Guys prides itself on using high-quality ingredients that are never frozen and being generous with their portions of beef patties and fries. While their beef may not be grass-fed, they do ensure that their cattle are mainly raised on corn and a diet that includes vitamins and corn.
Although grass-fed beef may be a healthier option, it’s important to note that it also comes at a higher cost. Five Guys’ commitment to using fresh, all-natural beef may be worth the price for those who prioritize quality over cost.
In the end, it’s up to the individual consumer to decide if Five Guys’ beef is worth the price. While there are other fast food chains that offer grass-fed beef, Five Guys’ commitment to freshness and quality may still make them a top choice for burger lovers.