Is Sprouts Grass-Fed Beef 100% Grass-Finished?

Grass-fed beef has become an increasingly popular option for health-conscious consumers looking for beef that is more natural, nutritious and environmentally friendly. Many grocery stores now offer grass-fed beef, including the natural foods grocer Sprouts Farmers Market. But is Sprouts grass-fed beef 100% grass-finished, meeting the highest standards? In this article, we’ll take a close look at the details of Sprouts’ grass-fed beef program to help you determine if it fits your needs and expectations for truly grass-fed meat.

What Does Grass-Fed and Grass-Finished Mean?

First, let’s clarify the difference between grass-fed and grass-finished when it comes to beef labeling in the U.S.

Grass-fed means that cattle were fed a diet predominantly of fresh grass and forage throughout their lives. This is in contrast to conventional feedlot cattle who are fed high-energy grain diets to fatten them up

Grass-finished takes grass-fed a step further requiring cattle to have continuous, 100% grass and forage-based diets their entire lives after weaning. They do not go through a finishing stage on grain. This is the gold standard for grass-fed beef purists.

Sprouts Grass-Fed Beef Program Details

Sprouts states on their website that their grass-fed beef comes from cattle that have been fed a vegetarian diet of fresh grasses their entire lives after weaning. The animals are also not treated with antibiotics or added hormones.

This meets the basic definition of 100% grass-fed. However, they do not make any claims that the beef is “grass-finished” or that the animals’ diet is 100% continuous grass. Without this language, there is potential room for interpretation.

Sprouts highlights that their suppliers are certified according to the American Grassfed Association’s (AGA) standards. Looking into the AGA standards provides more insight into how the cattle are actually raised:

  • After weaning, animals must be maintained on range, pasture or forage (but not grain). This implies a 100% grass diet.

  • Hay, haylage, baleage, silage, crop residue, and other roughage sources may also be included as acceptable feed sources.

This leaves room for feed that is not purely fresh grasses. There can be exceptions made for inclement weather and sourcing hay/silage when fresh grazing isn’t possible.

The AGA also prohibits “finishing” cattle on grain or in a feedlot. But they do allow animals to be “fattened” on grass prior to slaughter.

Overall, while Sprouts’ beef program meets the AGA definition of 100% grass-fed, the specifics suggest it may not quite measure up to the “gold standard” of continuous, single-source grass-finished. There can be some flexibility during inclement weather seasons for feeding mixed forage and hay.

Additional Factors to Consider

Aside from the grass-fed diet, here are some other factors that contribute to the overall quality and standards of Sprouts’ beef:

  • Hormones and antibiotics: Sprouts beef is free of added hormones and routine antibiotics. This meets consumer expectations for natural, grass-fed beef.

  • Animal welfare: The AGA has standards for humane animal treatment including pasture access requirements. Sprouts claims their suppliers meet these standards.

  • Slaughter process: No details are provided on where/how slaughter and processing occurs. This is important for animal stress levels which impact meat quality.

  • Traceability: Sprouts does not indicate sources for their grass-fed beef. Tracing exact ranches/regions provides assurance for consumers on production practices.

  • Certifications: In addition to AGA grass-fed certification, no information is shared on any other third-party audits, such as USDA Process Verified Program. This provides an added layer of oversight.

How Sprouts Grass-Fed Beef Compares to Other Retailers

How does Sprouts grass-fed beef stack up against offerings from other major grocery retailers? Here is a brief overview:

  • Whole Foods: Their suppliers must meet AGA’s 100% grassfed standards. However, they do carry additional grass-finished options from strictly verified ranches.

  • Kroger: Simple Truth Grass Fed Beef also follows AGA certified standards, with some finishing allowed on silage.

  • Costco: Their grass-fed beef must adhere to the AGA’s standards as well as their own additional requirements that animals eat only grass after weaning.

  • Trader Joe’s: Details are lacking but marketing focuses on continuous grass diets suggesting their standard may be grass-finished.

Overall, Sprouts’ program aligns with most major retailers. While it meets the grass-fed definition, there are fewer specifics provided compared to some competitors who offer clearly grass-finished options.

Is Sprouts’ Beef Considered 100% Grass-Finished?

Based on Sprouts’ grass-fed beef sourcing details and supplier requirements, here is the verdict on whether it meets the 100% grass-finished standard:

No – Sprouts’ beef cattle are fed grass diets their entire lives after weaning per AGA standards. But the program allows for some mixed forage, hay and silage during certain times of year. Their claims focus on “grass-fed” only.

This means their beef is 100% grass-fed but likely not grass-finished from a single fresh grass source. There can be exceptions made when weather limits fresh grazing availability.

While Sprouts’ program meets good animal welfare and environmental standards for grass-fed beef, consumers looking for beef from cattle with continuous, single-source grass-only diets may want to seek out stricter grass-finished offerings.

Should You Buy Sprouts Grass-Fed Beef?

At the end of the day, Sprouts provides a solid grass-fed beef option that adheres to reputable third-party standards. While not 100% grass-finished, it meets many consumer expectations for more natural, responsibly raised beef.

Here are some factors to help decide if Sprouts grass-fed beef fits your needs:


  • Good price point and wide availability

  • Meets AGA grassfed standards

  • Free of hormones and routine antibiotics

  • Transparent about production protocols


  • Not verified single-source 100% grass-finished

  • Lacks some specificity on traceability and welfare details

  • No added third-party certifications beyond AGA

Overall, Sprouts grass-fed beef is a good option for the price-conscious consumer looking for budget-friendly grass-fed beef sold at conventional grocers. Those requiring strict grass-finished verification may want to seek out specialized producers. But for high quality meat with good transparency at affordable prices, Sprouts hits the marks.

Finding 100% Grass-Finished Beef

If you require third-party certification that beef is from cattle fed nothing but fresh pasture grass their whole lives, here are some tips:

  • Check for the “grass-finished” label claim, not just grass-fed

  • Look for PCO or Animal Welfare Approved grass-finished certifications

  • Seek out local producers who can explain their protocols

  • Ask about feed audits and traceability back to individual farms

  • Understand seasonal changes may impact continuous grass finishing

  • Expect to pay a premium for strict grass-finished verification

While costlier and less common, seeking out 100% grass-finished beef gives you the highest standard and most transparency into production practices.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to the grass-fed beef options available at conventional grocers, Sprouts offers a high quality program that meets the gold standard for grassfed certification from the AGA. Their cattle are raised on a vegetarian grass-based diet free of hormones and routine antibiotics.

However, Sprouts grass-fed beef is not guaranteed to be 100% grass-finished from a single fresh grass source. There is potential for mixed forage and hay to be fed during certain times of year. For shoppers specifically requiring single-source grass-finished, Sprouts may not fully meet that need.

But for an accessible, affordable grass-fed beef option focused on good animal welfare and environmental practices, Sprouts is an excellent choice meeting high standards for nutrition, taste and responsible production.

Grass-Fed vs. Grass-Finished Beef: Big Difference


Is Sprouts beef really grass-fed?

At Sprouts, we believe keeping food as close to nature as possible tastes best. That’s why we’re proud to source our 100% grass-fed beef from Grass Run Farms®. Their cattle are raised on nutrient-rich, open pastures in the U.S. and are never given antibiotics or added hormones … ever!

How do you know if beef is grass fed and finished?

You can often pick when beef is grass-fed by the slight yellow hue of the fat. This is a result of the pigments in grass and does not effect on the quality of the beef. Flavour: For many consumers, grass-fed is said to have a more complex flavour as a result of the varied pastoral diet.

Is 100% grass fed also grass-finished?

At Pre, we use the term “100% Grass Fed & Finished” beef because the cattle is raised on pasture for their entire lifespan, and never finished on corn or grain byproducts (which are unnatural for cattle to consume).

Is Sprouts meat good quality?

Sprouts landed the number one spot on our ranking of the best grocery store chains to buy meat. It considers itself a farmers market and reminds us of Whole Foods. We found it to be the best for meat because it offers high-quality beef, poultry, and lamb.

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