The Big Batch
Meal planning with high-quality protein like
beef can be a solution for busy consumers.
Taking the “plan ahead” and “waste not, want not” mantras to the next level, batch cooking reflects consumers’ quest for convenience and quality. Batch cooking – preparing multiple meals at once for later use – is on the uptick. According to information from the Beef Checkoff, batch cooking has experienced a 67% increase in con- sumer conversation since 2012. This form of meal preparation, akin to a DIY meal kit made at home,
works for busy consumers and for grocers, who can move
products through the store even during slow periods.
In a twist on the use of leftovers to make meals, these
batch-cooked meals can be considered “planned overs.”
The Beef Checkoff has provided consumers with ideas
and recipes for a variety of “planned over” meals using
nutrient-rich beef to make meal planning and grocery
shopping quick and easy.
“Batch cooking with beef takes the guesswork out of
weekday meals,” says chef Laura Hagen, senior director,
Grocers can promote batch cooking as a way for their
customers to cut time in the kitchen as well as a way to
ensure healthy meals for themselves and their families.
Planning meals ahead of time can help people meet
their nutritional needs and goals, such as getting enough
high-quality protein with beef, paired with good-for-you
ingredients like vegetables and whole grains.
On its website and through materials available to grocers, dietitians and others, the Beef Checkoff provides
step-by-step instructions for batch cooking cuts like
shredded beef and steak, from choosing cuts to cooking
beef to assembling meals and storing them in containers
for use later in the week. Some of the instructions include
cooking methods appealing to busy families, Millennials
and empty nesters, such as using slow cookers or grills.
In addition, the Beef Checkoff has developed several recipes for beef-centric dishes like Beefy Sweet
Potato Hash, Four Seasons Beef and Brussels Sprouts
Salad and Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce. Batch
cooking recipes using beef, along with nutrition information, are available at BeefIts WhatsForDinner.com.
Meanwhile, to help retailers promote and merchandise
beef for batch cooking, the Beef Checkoff provides a host
of other resources. For example, store staff and registered
dietitians can learn about different cuts of beef and how
they can be used in batch cooking via a “Making the Meat
Case Matter” educational video. In addition, grocers can
get batch cooking ideas and information on protein consumption by joining the beef industry’s Food Waste Challenge and 30-day Protein Challenge.
Batch cooking with beef
takes the guesswork out of
weekday meals. With beef
batch cooking, families
don’t need to stress about
navigating their busy
schedules and spending
hours in the kitchen.”
—Laura Hagen, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association