A tripe dish with onion.

Tripe, Other Organ Meats Could Become Favorites During Recession

November 11, 2008 01:58 PM
by Isabel Cowles
The lower prices of tripe and other organ meats may lead them to a more prominent place on menus, reversing a drop in their popularity.

Recession may mean offal revival

In France, organ meat is as classic as the croissant. But the last few decades have marked a sharp decline in offal consumption.

Parisian restaurant owner Jean-Claude Lefevre has noted that items with triperie, which includes beef, sheep or pig innards, sell poorly compared to their offal-free counterparts. “There are people who still love tripe and tongue and trotters when they’re well prepared,” Lefevre told Agence France-Press, “But they tend to be older, to like traditional fare. Young people are not so keen.”

Some restaurateurs are hoping to buck this trend as the economy declines. The world financial crisis may make triperie seem more attractive to the consumer; it tends to cost less than more standard types of meat. France’s National Triperie Confederation (CNTF), which has fought to soften the image of innards by marketing them as “tripe products” instead of offal, notes that between September and October, the sale of organ meats rose 16 percent compared with sales from the same time in 2007: meat sales, in general, fell 2.6 percent. 

AFP quoted the CNTF’s Jean-Jacques Arnoult as saying, “We are convinced this increase is due to the credit crunch. Every time news reports raise the issue of the fall in purchasing power, this is free advertising for us.”

Even eaters outside of France have spoken on behalf of organ meats, noting their economic and environmental value. Food journalist Jacqueline Church cites offal’s potential role in the sustainable farming trend when she writes, “The more we think about the farm to table connection, the use of resources in responsible ways, going green and so forth, the more Head to Tail eating makes sense.”
But according to Chris Cosentino, author of the food blog “Offal Good,” tripe has ironically become an item enjoyed primarily by the wealthy. According to Cosentino, “through a combination of squeamishness and the perceived low culinary status of organ meats the modern offal eater is no longer the home cook nor the working classes but the affluent restaurant diner who seeks culinary differentiation and gastronomic adventure.”

Reference: All About Offal


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