July is National Bison Month in the US and John Flocchini, president of Durham Ranch, wants more Americans to eat the “highly nutritious, low in fat” bison meat.
The protein source is not widely consumed in the US, with Americans estimated to eat just 0.08lb of bison per year. This contrasts to the 49lb of chicken per capita in the US. Likewise, just 52,000 bison were slaughtered in 2015, while nine billion chickens are processed annually in the US.
Despite this, Flocchini told GlobalMeatNews the niche buffalo market was “quickly growing in popularity” with a 22% surge in consumption reported between 2013 and 2015.
Bullish for bison
“Bison have survived the odds and, even when they were on the brink of extinction, they have been brought back in great abundance,” said Flocchini. “A great deal of this is due to ranchers, like us at Durham Ranch, who are committed to maintaining healthy herds and sustainable rangelands.”
A note on health
A single serving of buffalo meat has 2.4 grams of fat compared to 18.5g in a serving of beef. The meat, which is also rich in iron, selenium, zinc and phosphorous is approved by the American Heart Association as a source of lean meat.
The president of Durham Ranch expects the $340m industry to grow over the next decade. “From my perspective I see no reason why demand for bison will not continue to increase in the next 10 years... Demand for natural, healthy and family-run farms with smaller programs will grow.”
Durham Ranch is a third-generation bison ranch based in north-west Wyoming and the business handles a herd of 5,000. Sister company Sierra Meat & Seafood, owned by John's brother, Chris Flocchini, the president and CEO of the company, distributes bison meat to more than 200 foodservice distributors and retail outfits across the US. Sierra Meat & Seafood sales for 2015 came to $107m.