Less Meat, Better Meat

The Less Meat, Better Meat approach is a two-tiered strategy for hospitals to reduce their meat and poultry purchases, and invest their cost savings in sustainable meat options.  

The reasons for implementing the Less Meat, Better Meat approach are profound and compelling: 

  • Most hospitals buy substantial amounts of meat, typically through large distributors who source from the U.S. commodity beef, pork, and poultry markets. 
  • Significant public and environmental health costs are associated with industrialized meat and poultry production and distribution, including antibiotic resistance, air and water contamination, and global climate change through methane and transportation emissions.
  • Americans eat more than twice the global average for meat consumption. Hospital foodservice operations often mirror this trend. 

By balancing hospital menus to favor less and better meat, hospitals can provide health, social, and environmental benefits that are consistent with prevention-based medicine. By providing nutritionally-appropriate portion sizes for patients, staff, and visitors they model healthy eating. By supporting sustainable meat and poultry production through their purchasing they incentivize production practices that are better for farm communities, consumers, and the environment.  

Our report Redefining Protein: Adjusting Diets to Protect Public Health and Conserve Resources and the associated Purchasing Considerations helps guide the complex decision-making process encountered when applying an environmental nutrition approach to food purchases, specifically when reducing and replacing meat on the plate.

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