New Zealand research leads the charge to understand health benefits of eating pasture-raised red meat

// Research

New Zealand is leading ground-breaking research exploring the health and well-being benefits of eating pasture-raised beef and lamb versus grain-fed beef and plant-based alternatives.

girl eating burger

The research programme brings together leading researchers from AgResearch, the Riddet Institute and the University of Auckland and includes two ground breaking clinical trials to look at the impact of including red meat in your diet.

The clinical trials will not only assess the physical effects on the body from eating these different foods but will look at measurements of well-being such as satisfaction, sleep and stress levels.

We are excited about this important project, which is led by the Meat Industry Association’s innovation arm and jointly funded with Beef + Lamb New Zealand, as well as the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Much of the global research on the health, nutritional and environmental aspects of red meat is based on intensive grain-finished farming systems.

We also know there are myths and misinformation about the production and benefits of eating red meat, so we have turned to research to help bring balance to what consumers are hearing.

Nutritionists tell us moderate amounts of red meat can be an important part of a well-balanced diet, and this research aims to build on the substantial credible evidence that underpins this advice.

The initial stages of the programme are led by AgResearch and the Riddet Institute. AgResearch will develop nutritional profiles and the Riddet Institute will undertake lab-based (or “in vitro”) digestive analysis of the products.

Results from these two studies will provide baseline data about pasture-raised beef and lamb and its consumption in comparison to other foods.

University of Auckland researchers will then oversee the final two stages, clinical trials investigating both the short-term and long-term well-being and health benefits of red meat consumption. 

The highlight of the programme, a sustained clinical study, will see members of 40 households on a managed flexitarian dietary regime over 10 weeks. The participants will be monitored over the course of the study and changes in health status, behaviours and attitudes and perceptual well-being recorded.

We will keep you informed of any developments.