The skyrocketing beef prices that prompted Chipotle’s latest price hike are also driving up sales of “pink slime.” You may know the stuff by its less-catchy industry name, “finely textured beef,” which is what producers want you to call it, though no one ever will, billion-dollar lawsuit or not. Now, just in time for the price hikes, public schools have cut their use of pink slime in lunches to a new low, buying 94 percent less than they did last year, according to USDA numbers.
The byproduct’s boosters see a golden opportunity in rising costs, like Gizmodo’s Matt Novak, who makes a cogent argument for why the stuff has been wrongly demonized throughout the years, perhaps gaining its most significant momentum with a particularly effective publicity stunt undertaken by Jamie Oliver a few years back. Novak even suggests that an organic version might help the beef byproduct gain more traction. But industry experts don’t foresee a comeback. Analysts says all that processed beef lost the public-image war, and even schools’$2 2014 purchases are essentially unchanged from 2013. Any big “pink slime” revival, organic or not, “is going to be slow and cautious.”