MeyerBeefalo & Bison Hybrid Farm
Marketing Beefalo - Valuing Your Beefalo Product
Another page out of the “Bison book of learning” – The Bison industry has worked long and hard to promote bison meat based on its unique, healthy characteristics, thereby giving it a competitive advantage over beef. They have set their standards and their prices high and have identified themselves with higher-end restaurants and specialty foods stores. They have appealed to health conscious individuals and because of the rarity of it, they have promoted it as “prestigious” to buy and eat bison meat. They have learned that if the customer is to value the product, they have to value it first!
Since Beefalo meat is similar to Bison meat, but not exactly the same, the Beefalo producer needs to capitalize on what makes Beefalo meat unique. There are two main areas where Beefalo is different: First, because it has slightly more fat than bison meat, it is more forgiving to cooking variances. Just that small amount of fat will make the difference if you leave the steak on the grill for a minute more. Just that small amount of fat will help insulate the meat and make it just a little more tender and juicy, but won’t leave it dripping with grease! And the other plus of Beefalo meat is its age. Whereas a bison needs up to 3 years to bring it to butcher weight, a Beefalo can take 18 months to 2 years and be ready. That translates into 1 year less grow time and less feeding dollars. Your customer can have the same health properties of bison meat at a slightly lower cost.
While it might be tempting to “give away” a pound of Beefalo burger or a package of steaks, try to avoid doing so. It may send a de-valuing message, and often leads customers to think they can get “volume discounts” and other freebies. This is a quality product that is worth a quality price. If they are truly interested and you have done your job, they won’t mind paying for good quality meat. The same rule that applies to selling Beefalo meat in individual packages also applies to selling your Beefalo meat by quarters/halves/whole animals, and to selling your breeding stock or production animals. Valuing it properly is crucial to helping the Breed to expand and grow. It is also crucial to keeping your farming operation afloat.
But how do you find out what you should be charging for your Beefalo? The easiest way is to periodically pick up the phone and ask. Contact local butcher shops that do custom processing. Contact other producers in your geographical area, and don’t stop with other Beefalo producers. Contact beef producers and bison producers. It is important to know where the competition stands.
Most meat producers are used to getting cold calls from people asking what they charge for their meat. As an example, a Beefalo producer can charge $3.00 per lb. hanging weight for a meat animal with an average HW of 600 lbs., that translates into $1,800 gross sale amount for that animal. Obviously, if that animal is worth $1,800 as meat, that animal should not be sold as breeding stock for anything less. Always calculate the minimum price that the animal can be sold for and price up from there. Never sell at or below auction barn prices for “beef” animals. This will not only hurt you, but it will also hurt other beefalo producers and be detrimental to the Beefalo breed as a whole.
Remember, these are valuable animals with valuable qualities and should be priced accordingly.