Meat is the most common food found on dinner tables of households across the world. The reason why it is so popular is because it is packed with lots of protein and nutrients that is healthy and very delicious. Though with the increases in the demand for meat more and more industrial farmers have turned their food production methods into a profit hungry machine that places its profit gain and efficiency ahead of health and sustainability. This kind of shortsighted approach is costly on people’s health, on the environment, animal welfare, the nutritional value of meat products as well as the taste of the meat itself.

The Slow Meat symposium that was held in Denver is fighting these problems facing the meat industry. Their theme, however over reaching it can be, is for “Better Meat, Less Meat”. So the aim is to find ways in order to support better animal agricultural systems that respects our environment and cares for the animals, which could also benefit small farmers and ranches but not taking away the meat from the consumers.

These kind of questions were asked of the hundreds of people that included farmers, ranchers, butchers, policymakers, chefs, Slow Food leaders, environmentalists and marketers to consider good, clean and fair meat production from the field to the fork in all aspects of the business. After talks and workshops the Slow Food symposium concluded outlining a couple of strategies for implementation to better the meat industry.

Here are four eating habits to transform the meat industry:

Meatless Monday:
This global movement simply asks consumers to cut out meat from their diets for one day a week. By doing so it will cut down meat consumption on a global level. This way consumers will resist cheap meat and to eat better meat in less quantities.

Broil For Biodiversity:
This is an encouragement to venture out and consume different species and unusual breeds that support our ecosystem and local food communities. An example would be of the Thanksgiving turkey where instead of purchasing the typical broad-breasted white breed from a factory farm one would get a heritage breed of turkey. This also extends into fruits and veg and not just meat products. There are 17 different varieties of beans and peas, which promote protein intake, a great alternative to meat.

Start Eating From Nose-To-Tail:
This allows people to enjoy all types of cuts of meat by eating more responsibly and wasting less. It just takes some getting use to but once you understand and know what different flavours there are from the parts you wouldn’t find at the dinner table you will see what you have been missing.

Learn How To Use Labels:
One of the important strategies outlined by the Slow Meat initiative is to provide consumers better tools in recognizing and making informed decisions about how to source their meat. The best option would be directly from the farmer who raise and market meats wherever possible. Also to make labels more user friendly so consumers know exactly what kind of product they are buying instead of being intimidated by jargon they don’t understand.

These strategies are in hope of moving meat from the center of people’s plates into a more sustainable place for both our health, the animals and our planet.