The ostrich is the world’s largest bird – it stands up to 2.7m tall and can weigh as much as 159kg. It can’t fly, but with its long legs and powerful thighs, it can cover five metres in a single stride and can run at speeds of over 70km per hour. It also produces the world’s largest eggs – around 15cm long and weighing up to 1.5kg. But when ostriches were first sought after in the 19th century, it wasn’t for their eggs or meat – it was for their feathers.

Considered a symbol of luxurious extravagance, feather accessories adorned the aristocracy and the fashionable elite until the onset of the First World War. After the decline of the ostrich feather market, it was only in the late 20th century that there was a resurgence in farming which saw ostrich rise in popularity as a meat source.

South Africa currently holds around 75% of the global ostrich market share, with the vast majority of the country’s meat coming from the Western Cape and Cape Town Meat Wholesalers like N1. Ostriches are still farmed for their feathers, but the most lucrative products are meat and leather.

The health benefits of ostrich meat make it a firm favourite with medical practitioners and dieticians alike who recommend it as a good choice for red meat lovers. The meat is low in kilojoules and cholesterol, as well as saturated fat – it has fat, but the fat collects outside the muscle so it’s much easier to remove. It’s also an excellent source of lean protein and rich in iron.

Another advantage of ostrich meat not often discussed is that it’s environmentally friendlier than many other sources of protein – it uses less land, less water and produces less GHG emissions. By including this protein source in your diet and occasionally swapping it out for other red meat sources, you help make a positive impact not just on your health, but on our climate and environment too.

For the best quality meat Cape Town and Johannesburg have to offer, remember leading wholesale meat suppliers, N1 – they have a wide variety of Halaal certified meat and ostrich products including burgers, sausages and mince, as well as fan fillet, neck, steak and goulash. Call them on 021 557 1510 or 011 316 3233 today.

National Geographic
City of London