Koop-een-koe are a Dutch startup, now with a branch in the UK, reducing meat waste through shared beef buying. Consumers collectively pledge to take 100% of the meat from the cow ensuring that all parts of the animal are accounted for, before the animal is slaughtered. Think of it like crowdfunding with a fatal twist.
Launched in January 2014, the Randstad based Koop-een-koe team work with a local farm and small abattoir, priding themselves on their sustainable and ethical practises and competitive pricing. Head to the website, choose your chunk of cow, and after the €99,95 set fee and a month’s turn around – in which the meat is hung and butchered – you’ll find the chosen 7.2kg portion of the cow on your doorstep.
The package contains roughly 28 meals for two in the various forms of steaks, sausages and burgers. The idea is that you’ll either distribute the delivery between friends or fully stock a shelf of your freezer. Koop-een-koe also offer freezer rental deliveries should you be stuck for space.
We like this fresh and honest approach, which encourages consumers to use all parts of the animal. Koop-een-koe customers will be under no illusions about where their meat came from, or what it contains. In addition, the model serves to eliminate waste at every point in the supply chain. With slaughter 100% driven by consumer demand, skilled butchers handling the carcass and predetermined custom, there is next to no scope for surplus stock, or waste, from source to point-of-sale.
Although clicking for a happy cow online is a far cry from looking the real animal in the eye, we feel this is at least a step in the right direction, in helping consumers to realise the consequences of their choices, and, in helping farmers earn a fair price for their meat. It’s not uncommon for supermarkets and restaurants to request the choice cuts from farmers, albeit at a fair price, but to then to leave them with the remains of the carcass which they are then under a time pressure to sell.
Our Dutch speaking readers can take a look at their film On the Farm, which explains exactly what it is about the cows and their environment that makes them sustainable. Namely, they are fed on a mix of grass and herbs supplemented with wheat, beet pulp and brewers grains, none of which have been treated with chemical fertilisers or pesticides. Antibiotics are never used preventatively, only being administered as a case of last resort when animals are sick, and the cows are on pasture for a vast portion of the year.
Now in the UK, let’s hope that Koop-een-koe continue their small scale success and inspire nose-to-tail, consumer-to-farmer forward thinking models elsewhere.
Feature image by Odd Wellies, in text images by Koopenkoe
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