MeyerBeefalo & Bison Hybrid Farm
Marketing Beefalo - Monitoring Beefalo Meat Quality
While establishing your supply, you will need to concentrate on keeping the quality of that supply as good as it can possibly be in order to keep current customers satisfied and to attract new customers. The first couple of years will be critical. If you are selling Beefalo meat to the public, and they do not return to buy more, something is wrong. Ongoing communication with your customers is critical. Follow up with them from time to time to see if they are satisfied with the product. If not, ask what specifically they feel is lacking or inadequate. Work to improve the meat or provide more educational materials.
Sometimes, it is a matter that the customer isn’t cooking the meat properly and needs guidance. If you have 3 customers from a meat animal (sold by quarters) that report that they were satisfied and 1 that was not, it might not be a problem with the animal, but rather a problem with the customer. It is important to remember that you cannot please all of the people all of the time. But if you have 4 customers on a meat animal and none were happy, then it is time to look at how you are raising your animals. (Hint: when selling by quarters, it is a great idea to sell by “split side”. That way, each customer gets some of the front half of the animal and some of the back half. Most butcher shops are happy to provide this service at no additional cost.)
From time to time, take a quarter of one of your meat animals for your own consumption. Try the steaks. Do they cook up on the grill moist and tender? Look at the raw ground burger. Is it lean, mostly red meat or is there a lot of fat in it? Do the same check for fat with the roasts and steaks. Taste the meat with a minimum of seasonings. Does the plain, cooked meat have good flavor? Compare your Beefalo meat to that of the grocery store beef. Is it visually different? Do a side-by-side taste comparison. Does it taste different? If you can’t tell the difference, then your customer probably won’t be able to either. Beefalo meat should look different from grocery store beef. It should look more like Bison meat. It should also be leaner than beef (less white in the burger), it should have less marbling than beef (especially Angus). If your Beefalo meat doesn’t look and taste better than beef, you may need to modify your feeding protocol. Beefalo meat cannot command a higher price if it isn’t different (visually and taste-wise) from the competition.
If you are purchasing Beefalo meat animals from another Beefalo producer, it is best to obtain animals that have had a similar up-bringing if possible. In other words, if you have been raising grass-fed Beefalo, you should be looking for other grass-fed Beefalo if you find that you will need a few more animals to meet your customer demands. If you are not able to find similarly fed animals, then it would be best to obtain Beefalo that are at least 6 – 9 months away from butcher weight. That way, you can put them on your feeding protocol, thereby increasing the chances that the meat will be more like your own. Remember, consistency is crucial to keeping your customers happy and returning for more of the same great meat.