Aramark’s operation at the Anaheim Convention Center has purchased a herd of 75 beef cattle as part of a sustainability initiative. The deal with Hearst Ranch, a major single-source supplier of free-range, all-natural, grass-fed and grass-finished beef, is said to be a first among convention centers.
The arrangement provides Aramark and Anaheim Convention Center with a supply of fresh, prime cut beef products for the center's catering operation, while also promoting the use of natural and sustainable products. Aramark had been purchasing beef from Hearst for the convention center operation since 2004.
Sourcing live cattle rather than purchasing specific cuts of beef provides the facility greater cost consistency and availability because the herd is wholly owned by Aramark at the Anaheim Convention Center, says Aramark General Manager Jim Tripp. "We're using a local supplier to reduce our carbon footprint, the cattle are raised in a sustainable environment consistent with the benchmarks that we've established, and owning our own herd provides us greater control of the supply chain," he adds.
"The flavor profile surpasses the conventional products,” notes Executive Chef Otis Huemmer. “The rich flavor content of the grass-fed and finished beef is unique and is very evident in grilled or roasted dishes."
As part of the pilot program, Hearst Ranch will continue to manage the Convention Center's herd. The cattle—a mix of Hereford, Angus and Shorthorn breeds—are grass-fed, free-range and hormone and antibiotic-free. They graze among the 1,000-head herd at the 80,000-acre San Simeon Ranch, part of Hearst Ranch, which is a member of the American Grassfed Association and holds certifications by Humane Farm Animal Care and Food Alliance.