Should I order my meat online? What you should look out for when buying meat.

Meat is something special

In Switzerland, it is not really common to order meat online, and there are good reasons for that. After all, in order to eat meat, an animal had to die first. In our minds, meat is therefore usually something special, something of high quality. Something you want to afford here and there. And that's a good thing.
When we buy meat, we prefer to see it beforehand to judge whether we want to buy it or not. We want to see the colour, the fat grain and convince ourselves of its freshness.
So it's better not to order meat online, or is it?

Meat from the trade or directly from the local butcher

Let's look at the trade first. Often we are not aware of what we are really getting when we buy meat in the supermarket or discount store. The packaging states the animal species, possibly even the cut, always the country of origin and the producer. Information on animal welfare (according to industrial criteria) has also recently become more and more common. How healthy the animals really were, how old they were allowed to live, where and how they grew up or how their feed was obtained and what environmental impact the meat has, on the other hand, is kept secret from us.

If we type the term "order meat online Switzerland" into Google, we find out a lot of this information after just a short search.
In addition to the trade, we also have the option of buying our meat from delicatessens or directly from the butcher. Here it is advisable to ask specifically from where exactly the meat is sourced.

Beware: most butchers who no longer slaughter their own meat buy it from one of the four big Swiss meat producers. The beautifully presented meat in the display is then the same as in the supermarket. Actually, it's a bit like a deceptive package, don't you think? Even most dried meat, of which the exact origin is not traceable, is in most cases only "fake regional" - often produced under the umbrella of "Swiss meat".

If, on the other hand, the butcher takes pride in his original craft, he can plausibly explain where his meat comes from, even when asked intensively. Ideally, of course, from regional farms and from animals that have been fed only regional fodder.

Buy meat directly from the producer

As we have seen, trust is important when buying meat, whether you order it online or buy it from your local butcher. That's why a growing number of city dwellers travel to the countryside at the weekend and buy their meat at the farm shop or directly from the farmer they trust. Frozen meat from a quarter of a cow or half of an alpine pig, nicely portioned, vacuum-packed and labelled is a very good alternative for conscious meat consumers. All you need is some freezer space at home and the will to prepare something from parts of the animal other than meatballs and minced meat. But farm shops often also offer individual pieces, dried meat and other farm specialities.

The truth lies in the detail

As with most things in life, when buying meat in Switzerland - online and offline - you should look a little closer and ask yourself the following questions:
How did the animal live and what did it eat when it was alive?
If the animal has lived most of its life in freedom on the pasture and in summer on the alp, this is certainly to be preferred. The animal was then fed according to its nature and could choose its own food.
How old was it allowed to be at the time of slaughter?
In Switzerland, most beef comes from 11-month-old animals. Calves even live less than 4 months. A broiler chicken only a few weeks. It is good to know that although meat from young animals is softer to the bite and easier to prepare, it has little flavour without a marinade or a strong sauce.
How was the meat hung?
Especially fresh meat from slightly older animals should be allowed to hang out after slaughter, i.e. it should not be processed immediately. After three to eight weeks, beef is perfectly matured and loses almost no water in the pan and becomes beautifully tender. Ask the farmer whether the meat has been allowed to mature and if so, for how long.
What does the list of ingredients of the dried meat look like?
If the dried meat contains pork, but there are no pigs on the farm itself, I would be very critical. Most of the time, the pigs come from farms with not so good animal welfare. Additives such as pickling salt, sodium nitrate, E252, ascorbic acid, sugar and other substances have no place in dried meat.
So make sure you don't recognise anything in the ingredients list that your grandmother wouldn't have recognised or used as food.

Order meat online

The last and often easiest way to buy meat is to order it online. Buy your meat directly from the producer you trust, with whom you have already clarified the above questions or from whom you can read all this information on the website and in the shop. In many cases, you can also call or write an email to the producer. This way you don't have to drive anywhere and you save a lot of time. You also save the environment because you don't have to drive yourself anywhere. Another advantage of online shopping is freshness. Most of the products come directly from the warehouse and are not already lying open in the display for several days.
Dried meat in particular is ideal for ordering online. It has a long shelf life and can be shipped unrefrigerated without wasting a lot of resources. When you order your meat online, you also create more value for the producer and support truly sustainable food production.

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