A More Affordable Veal Menu Option

By: Ashley Russell, Director of Veal Marketing

Protein prices continue to rise across markets and for a high-end protein such as veal, cost already impacted its place on the menu. Veal – Discover Delicious, a program funded by the Beef Checkoff, is sharing opportunities for chefs can afford to cut down on costs while keeping veal on their menus.

Before making the decision to remove veal from the menu, consider replacing traditional cuts with medallions, cutlets, satays, or stews, from the veal butt tenderloin. The butt tenderloin is underutilized in the foodservice industry, and it has not found a place in consumer markets. The low demand for this cut provides a better price point for restaurants and creates opportunity for chefs. Using the butt tenderloin in place of a rib chop or leg cutlet can save money and provide a unique eating experience for consumers.

The veal butt tenderloin comes from the veal leg and has very little fat. It can be ordered as trimmed (346) or skinned (346A). As an elegant dish, an appetizer option, or on the specials board, consider this cut and enjoy the versatility that veal has to offer. In the video below, meet Nicandro Poccia CEC, corporate executive chef and product manager for Marcho Farms, Inc. and Provimi Foods. Chef Poccia has been working in foodservice for 45 years. He began his career in an Italian restaurant where the first task he learned was how to break down a leg of veal. Watch here as he demonstrates how to cut the butt tenderloin into portioned servings.

Milk-fed veal is humanely raised and provides us with a high-quality protein that we can be proud of. This industry’s growers are passionate about keeping their animals healthy and utilizing best management practices when it comes to housing, nutrition, proper handling, and animal care. Today’s calves receive a diet largely comprised of milk, to create the light-pink protein recognized as veal. These calves also receive grain and roughage and have access to water through every stage of their lives.

Butt Tender_NickMilk-fed veal is raised on small family farms where animal care is the top priority. Calves are never tethered or crated. In fact, veal calves today start out in individual pens while they develop immunity but are moved to group housing by eight weeks of age. Both individual and group housing facilities provide an environment that allows the calves to thrive. This includes temperature regulated barns, plenty of natural and artificial lighting, and comfort flooring. After six months on the farm, calves leave for processing facilities at a weighing about 500 pounds. To put that in perspective, these calves are bigger than a pig and older than a turkey at the time of harvest.

Today, 95% of the milk-fed veal growers are certified in the Veal Quality Assurance Program (VQA), funded by the Beef Checkoff. The VQA program is a collection of best management practices to ensure that veal calves receive quality care through every stage of life. Veterinarians certify and work closely with growers to ensure the health and well-being of the animal.

Visit Veal.org/professionals to learn more about utilizing veal on the menu and to discover more about industry improvements and best practices.