Amazon meets grass-fed meet

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Can Amazon scale the production of grass fed beef the way it has with everything else it has touched? And should it? It seems we’re about to find out.

Recently a group of Amazon reps met with ranchers who specialize in organic and grass-fed beef in Bluffton, Georgia. Rancher Will Harris told Reuters that Amazon is interested in a possible distribution deal with his own multigenerational family farm, among others.

Could Amazon shake up factory farming? Possibly. Its recent acquisition of Whole Foods gives the tech giant clout in the sustainable food market. Grass-fed animals are a healthier and more sustainable option, as compared to factory farms, where animals are often abused and enlarged for profit. And while the demand for grass-fed meat keeps climbing, most small producers of grass-fed beef are too small in scale to process and distribute it efficiently.

But grass-fed meat could be a tough market to crack. Seventy five percent of the grass-fed beef sold in the U.S. is imported from other countries, largely due to less rigorous standards and therefore lower costs.

Amazon hasn’t made its business plans clear. Transparency and openness are valued in regenerative farming, leading experts to have varying opinions on whether the presence of Amazon is a good thing, or not.

Takeaway: A staggering 99 percent of the meat and dairy we consume is factory farmed, putting the onus on consumers to hunt down healthier, more sustainable alternatives. This story offers a jumpstart on how to find them.