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Protein is known to be a vital part of a well-rounded diet no matter whether it comes in the form of meat, beans, or the other kinds of plant protein. At the same time however, protein, specifically meat products, are among the most expensive grocery products at the store. As many families classified as the “working poor” attempt to balance taking care of their families while making the most of their finances, high quality red meat protein is often left off the grocery list out of necessity. Affordable protein options, however, are often much less nutrient dense or higher in fat content, making them less expensive but consequently, less healthy for the individual.

Cactus Cares and ADM have teamed up with Texas Tech University’s Meat Science Department because they recognize the problem surrounding low-income families not having reasonable access to animal protein. That is what has led them to finance a research study with Lubbock Impact’s participants to get hard numbers to know how to best approach this larger issue of food insecurity.

From a scientific standpoint, this study will measure the “impact and value of animal protein” consumed on a regular basis. Many low-income families have been affected by the increases in price for meat and red meat specifically is purchased more as a luxury item only when there is extra money to spare. One mom participating in this study shared how excited her son was for the meatloaf they got to have the previous week because of the meat they received from Red Raider Meats. “Meatloaf is [my son’s] favorite meal, but I haven’t been able to cook it for him in a while because I couldn’t afford the beef.”

Cassie, a Texas Tech University Meat Science graduate student who is conducting the research project, also highlights that another purpose of this study is to quantify the health impacts that red meat protein provides in comparison to other forms of protein like beans. As this survey gathers everything from general demographic information to how the meat provided is being prepared, Cactus Cares hopes to use this information to inform future approaches to food insecurity. In the short term, participants in the survey have expressed their gratitude for the beef, saying things like “I know where at least two of my meals for the week are coming from and that is a huge relief.”

Lubbock Impact has had a longstanding relationship with Red Raider Meats since 2007 and we continue to be thankful for their generosity and commitment to the alleviation of food insecurity in our Lubbock community.


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