Beef produced with up to a 90% reduction in methane has hit supermarket shelves in Sweden making this a world first in food production.
By adding a supplement to cattle feed that reduces methane, the animals produced less of the gas making this type of farming much more environmentally friendly.
This world first has been delivered via a unique pilot project between Swedish biotechnology company Volta Greentech, grocery chain Coop and food company Protos.
After many years of research, the product has been proven safe for both animals and humans from a health perspective and is possible to produce on a large scale on land
The more environmentally friendly beef is available from June 30 in selected Coop supermarkets in Sweden.
It is claimed 5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from methane produced by cows’ burps and farts.
The key behind the initiative is the feed supplement developed by Volta Greentech for cattle based on the red algae species Asparagopsis which reduces these emissions.
Past studies where cows were fed with a methane-reducing feed have previously shown at most a reduction of up to 80% during feeding.
Asparagopsis is a 100% natural feed supplement intended for cattle, which consists of the red macroalgae Asparagopsis grown on land in Volta’s pilot plant in Lysekil.
Fredrik Akerman, CEO of Volta Greentech, explained the benefits of the supplement. He said: “This is a solution we know works as the algae has proven to be extremely effective when it comes to reducing methane emissions from cows.
“After many years of research, the product has been proven safe for both animals and humans from a health perspective, and is possible to produce on a large scale on land, which we’ve tested in our pilot factory in Lysekil.
“We plan to greatly increase production in 2023-24 to be able to feed even more cows.”
The joint venture started the pilot project on Gotland, where steers received the supplement as part of their daily feed for 3 consecutive months before slaughter.
The study tested different ways of feeding the animals, and most reached over 90% methane reduction, with an average for the period of about 80%.
In addition, new methods to integrate the feed supplement into the farm’s daily work were discovered which will make it easier for more farms to implement the same solution in the future.
Fredrik added: “This collaboration shows that it is possible to greatly reduce methane emissions on commercial farms, and that it is practically feasible.
“As a consumer, you will now be able to actively choose products in the meat counter that are significantly better for the planet.”
The first methane-reduced beef is now presented under the LOME ‘Low on Methane’ brand. The meat will be sold as ground beef in 500g packets for a limited time in selected stores priced at SEK 59 (€5.80). Other selected cuts such as sirloin steak and beef fillet are also being sold over the counter.
Charlotta Szczepanowski, head of sustainability and quality at Coop Sweden, said: “This is a project that is really at the forefront in the area of food tech and the transition to a more sustainable food chain.
“We look forward to being the first in the world to offer our customers and members a unique product in our stores and to continue to support Swedish food production.”