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  • Writer's pictureNZ Food Waste Champions

Guest Post: Nose to Tail Month

Why embrace Nose-to-Tail eating?

Firstly, let’s get our heads around what nose-to-tail eating actually is and how it relates to reducing food waste. Beef + Lamb New Zealand have defined nose-to-tail (NTT) eating simply as, ‘promoting eating all edible parts of the animal, from the head to the tail, in an effort to minimise waste and eat thoughtfully and respectfully’. However, Fergus Henderson, founder of the nose-to-tail movement, explains it far more eloquently:

“It is a celebration of cuts of meat, innards, and extremities that are more often forgotten or discarded in today’s kitchen; it would seem disingenuous to the animal not to make the most of the whole beast: there is a set of delights, textural and flavorsome, which lie beyond the fillet.”

So, it’s all about looking beyond steak, mince, chops and roasts to eating and utilising those lesser used parts of the animal. It’s not to say that these cuts are discarded, if we’re talking offal (organ meats), the Meat Industry Association figures for 2020 show that we export 91,225 tonnes of offal with a value of $475 million to 64 different markets. However, while these cuts are appreciated and valued overseas, we still need to do some mahi to raise awareness of their value to New Zealanders, who will often pass them by in a supermarket or butchery.

Why eat nose-to-tail?

  • Nose-to-tail eating is about embracing a philosophy that asks us to think about our food differently, understanding it’s value and using every part of an animal. It makes sense that if you are a meat eater, out of respect for the animal (and the farmer), we might be open to this way of eating.

  • We can reduce food waste by cooking with the whole animal. Even meat bones, which also make up a portion of non-edible food waste, can be used. Instead of buying expensive bone broths or stocks why not make your own, ensuring you get every bit of goodness out of the bones before they are discarded – click here for a bone broth recipe

  • Like all food production, raising animals does have an impact on the environment, therefore it makes sense meat eaters should try to eat as much of the animal as possible in order to gain maximum benefits from as little impact as possible.

  • Many nose-to-tail cuts are really nutritious. Offal (liver and kidney) in particular is a nutritional powerhouse packed full of protein, omega-3s, iron, zinc, selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, folate, B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin A – all of which are key for optimising health and wellbeing. Not only are offal cuts nutrient dense, the nutrients are very bioavailable – meaning your body can absorb a lot of the nutritional goodness easily.

  • Nose-to-tail cuts are often more affordable. Neck chops, shin and oxtail can be very cost effective, and offal often retails for less than $10 a kilogram. Given the nutrition density of offal you don’t need to eat a lot to reap the benefits.

  • When it’s cooked correctly it’s a truly delicious food. Think oxtail soup, pâté on toast or a steak & kidney pie.

Just like Love Food Hate Waste has got New Zealanders eating broccoli stalks and old bread in many new ways, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, want to do the same and educate Kiwi’s to use less common cuts of meat, meat bones and offal. So, in 2020 they launched the inaugural Nose-To-Tail Month.

Because it was the year of Covid, the campaign was launched via social media channels, with a really positive response. The campaign reached 661,800 people through social media platforms with 51,200 people engaging with the content. What was most exciting to see was the 21,415 people who accessed the nose-to-tail recipes and 1,580 people who read the NTT blogs, suggesting that people may be open to trying this way of eating.

With the success of last year’s campaign, Beef + Lamb New Zealand have again made July Nose-To-Tail Month. This year, with a focus on entry-level offal we’ve had our office millennial, Lauren, cooking up a Steak & Kidney pie in our test kitchen and visiting Churly’s restaurant, where Hannah Miller-Child introduced her to offal charcuterie cuisine at its finest.

Hannah spoke at the NZ Food Waste Summit earlier this year on her nose-to-tail philosophy and zero food waste restaurant-kitchen. Lauren came away inspired by her experience and even went on to cook Crumbed Bone Marrow with Caramelised Onion at home. That’s one millennial converted!

It’s exciting to see nose-to-tail cuisine appearing on restaurant menus and charcuterie platters across the country. In July, Slow Food Auckland and Scarecrow restaurant is recognising this philosophy by hosting a Tête-À-Queue Nose-To-Tail Dinner.

It may well be restaurants and our -talented chefs who lead the charge on nose-to-tail eating and normalise it enough for New Zealanders to step out of their comfort zone and give it a go. Just like lamb shanks were once ‘dog tucker’ maybe offal and other nose-to-tail cuts will have its day. Or even better, might we be seeing innovation and the nutrient density of offal being used to create value-added products. Watch this space!

Guest Writer, Regina Wypych

Nutrition & Marketing Executive – Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

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