Hold the turkey—we’ve officially entered an era of Americans going back to steaks, burgers, and beef.
Bloomberg Business reports that red meat consumption will go up this year, for the first time since 2006. Americans will eat an estimated 54.3 pounds of beef this year—an increase of almost half a pound per person from 2015, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture.
Why are we downing so much medium-rare (or well-done—you do you) beef?
The boom may be due in part to the Paleo diet, which features meat as a cornerstone of its how-cavepeople-ate lifestyle. (I guess that Paleo pioneer urging everyone to eat less meat isn’t getting his point across?)
“Certainly there’s been a big push towards eating more meat and more meat proteins,” Altin Kalo, an analyst at Steiner Consulting Group, told Bloomberg Business.
But the high-quality, grass-fed beef prized by Paleo fans is only part of the reason for the rise in beef sales. On the lower-quality end of the scale, beef prices are more affordable than they’ve been in a while, thanks to cattle supply being at a five-year high.
Before you picture a return to 1950s-style dinners, with a sizzling steak, baked potato, and crisp green salad on tables across the country, though, remember that beef consumption is still well below historic levels: In 1976, Americans ate about 94 pounds (!) per person per year, Bloomberg reports.
Whatever amount of red meat you are eating, make sure you know how to decode meat labels: Here are five food labels all meat eaters should understand before you fire up that barbecue this summer. (And, just a suggestion: Throw some peaches on the grill first. Trust us. Heaven.)
Prefer burgers of the veggie variety? Here’s how to make a vegan kale burger that became an LA obsession—or try New York City’s hottest vegan burger (in dumpling form).