Press Release: Heritage Breed Meats 2018


Contact: Ryan Walker, Marketing & Communications Manager, The Livestock Conservancy, (919) 542-5704 ext. 102

Editor’s Note: Images available for download at:
Interviews available upon request.

Heritage Breed Meats Named 2018 Top Food Trend

PITTSBORO, NC, USA [January 15, 2018] – The National Restaurant Association has ranked Heritage breed meats among the top food trends for 2018 after completion of its annual survey of 700 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation. The annual “What’s Hot” list gives a peek into which food, beverage and culinary concepts will be the new items on restaurant menus that everyone is talking about in 2018.

Heritage breed meats ranked 13th overall as a hot trend with 60% of chefs favoring them as such. Topping the list at 69% was “New cuts of meat” (e.g. shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas Strip Steak, Merlot Cut). The Association surveyed chefs in October and November 2017, asking them to rate 161 items as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news,” or “perennial favorite” on menus in 2018. “We’re thrilled to have Heritage breed meats ranked as a hot trend for 2018. We’re now working to ensure they become a perennial favorite” said Alison Martin, Executive Director for The Livestock Conservancy, the organization that tracks Heritage breed livestock populations, works to promote them, and published the first Heritage breed definition for the marketplace more than a decade ago.

Martin says Heritage breeds have a long-established history in American agriculture and represent the breeds that were once common before industrial agriculture became mainstream. “The diversity of flavors offered by Heritage breeds is the missing ingredient in today's kitchens, reminding us of what we have sacrificed for uniformity in our food” she said. With the resurgence of interest in Heritage breeds, chefs and consumers across the country are rediscovering the breeds that produce the most flavorful meats possible. “Enjoy a dinner at many of the country’s finest restaurants and you’ll likely find Heritage meats on the menu” said Martin.

Along with high-quality meats, consumers and chefs are looking to add more vegetables to the menu for 2018. “Local, vegetable-forward, and ethnic-inspired menu items will reign supreme in the upcoming year” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research at the National Restaurant Association. Families looking to fill their plates with more vegetables are turning to higher quality, sustainably raised Heritage breed meats to fill their protein needs. “People are beginning to realize that eating less meat overall means that when they do eat it, they can choose the best quality meat they can find” says Martin. “Heritage breed meats fit that model perfectly – the flavor is proof.”

To locate and purchase Heritage breed meats and other products, visit The Livestock Conservancy’s online directory at Printed directories are distributed to Livestock Conservancy members. To view the full 2018 Top Food Trends list, visit

About the Livestock Conservancy:
The Livestock Conservancy is America's leading nonprofit organization working to protect over 150 heritage breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction. Included are donkeys, cattle, goats, horses, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. Founded in 1977, The Conservancy is the pioneer organization in the U.S. working to conserve historic breeds and genetic diversity in livestock. The Livestock Conservancy’s mission is "to protect endangered livestock and poultry breeds from extinction."

Why are domestic breed of livestock and poultry in danger of extinction?
Modern agriculture and food production favors the use of a few highly specialized breeds selected for maximum output in intensively controlled environments. Many traditional breeds do not excel under these conditions, causing their popularity to decrease and leaving them faced with extinction. Although these breeds do not fit today's mainstream model of agriculture, they are exquisitely suited for backyards and small to medium-sized farms.

Why is genetic diversity important?
Like all ecological systems, agriculture depends on genetic diversity to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Genetic diversity in domestic animals is revealed in distinct breeds, each with different characteristics and uses.

Traditional, historic breeds retain essential attributes for survival and self-sufficiency – fertility, foraging ability, longevity, maternal instincts, ability to mate naturally, and resistance to disease and parasites. As agriculture changes, this genetic diversity may be needed for a broad range of uses and opportunities. Once lost, genetic diversity is gone forever.


Editor’s Note: Images available for download at:
Interviews available upon request.


Ryan Walker
Marketing & Communications Manager
The Livestock Conservancy™
P: +1 (919) 542-5704 ext. 102    M: PO Box 477, Pittsboro, NC 27312 USA
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