Today's guest post is by Peppercommer Ann Barlow.
If you’re a cow or a heifer, a steer or a bull, you are quite a bit less popular with the American people than you were five years ago. Same for pigs. We don’t even feel the same way about chickens as we did in the first decade of the 21st century. An animal could develop a complex.
But not in this case. As New York Times magazine food columnist Mark Bittman writes in this week’s blog, Americans are eating less meat than we used to. Down 12 percent in the past five years.
There are plenty of posits on the reason behind the decline. Rising food costs. Less money in the checking account. And the occasional common sense that we the people sometimes show. We may actually be realizing that an 8-ounce portion of steak or pasta Bolognese, while delicious, just isn’t all that good for us.
Full disclosure: I am not a vegetarian. I do try to get my protein from sources like nuts, beans, eggs and cheese. I do, however, tuck into some grilled chicken or sliced pork tenderloin at least a couple of times per week. But I don’t feel the need to have meat every night the way I used to.
I know I’m healthier as a result, as are all of us who have changed our consumption habits for one reason or another. And if the trend continues, animals won’t be the only ones breathing easier. Less methane equals better air quality, too.
Of course, industry associations are shall we say, having a cow? Mad as a wet hen? They aren’t as happy as a pig in you-know-what, that’s for sure. I can understand that, since they represent people who pay them whose livelihoods could be threatened by such a trend. But how often do you have eggs and bacon for breakfast. It’s not like it’s the first time our eating habits have changed and it won’t be the last.
So, Bessie, Wilbur. Don’t take our staying away personally. Sometimes it really is good to be less popular.