Pasture-raised advantage

Public Summary

Principal investigators: Associate Professor Andrea Braakhuis, The University of Auckland and Dr Emma Bermingham, AgResearch
Industry partners: Meat Industry Association Innovation and Beef + Lamb New Zealand
High-Value Nutrition funding: $400,839

Pasture-Raised Advantage aims to understand the role of New Zealand red meat (beef and lamb) in healthy lifestyles through its effects on human nutrition, health and psychological wellness outcomes. This study benefits the New Zealand meat industry by producing an evidence base to support positive health messaging.

While the World Health Organisation recommends eating red meat as part of a healthy diet, there is a negative view of red meat for health and environmental reasons. However, not all red meat is equal. New Zealand has predominantly pasture-raised livestock farming, and most New Zealand table meats, domestic and exported, are pasture-raised. This meat is compositionally different from grain-fed and feedlot finished table meats sold in many parts of the world.

Despite what many believe are the nutrition and health benefits associated with red meat raised on pasture, there is little published evidence of this beyond the rudimentary chemical analysis of the significant fat differences compared to feedlot or grain-fed meat.

The research proposes to include pasture-raised lamb and beef as treatment groups. It includes markers of inflammation to understand better the health implications of red meat consumption in healthy adults. Briefly, as part of a single meal, grain-finished beef, pasture-raised beef, pasture-raised lamb, or a meat analogue will be fed to healthy, young (23-34-year-old) consumers using a randomised, cross-over design.

This research will create new knowledge to support a unique brand story around New Zealand premium, pasture-raised beef and lamb. Specifically, this research project will lead to an understanding of both the acute (single meal) and long-term consequences of consuming New Zealand red meat on markers of health and wellbeing.

High-Value Nutrition is one of the eleven National Science Challenges. The Challenge has a $45.6 million budgeted research investment over the next five years.


Research team

Associate Professor Andrea Braakhuis

Dr Braakhuis is a registered dietitian with a research interest in the clinical and health application of plant and animal-based bioactives.

Andrea has over 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals and is an Associate Editor for the Nutrition & Dietetics Journal and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Current collaborators include AgResearch, Massey University, Otago University, the Auckland Cancer Society and various commercial partners.

Andrea founded the Dietitians New Zealand Research Special Interest Group and is currently employed by The University of Auckland with the Nutrition and Dietetics programme as the Academic Director.

Dr Emma Bermingham

Emma is a Senior Research Scientist at AgResearch, with a research interest in the health implications of meat consumption for both humans and pets.

She and was the Principal Investigator for the Complex Lipids for Enhanced Metabolic Health research project, which was jointly funded by the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge and First Light Foods.

Emma has held roles with the CSIRO, Australia, INRA, France and the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition.