Full Transparency Ahead: An update from our Founder.
Hi there! This is Sean Lenihan, the founder of The Honest Bison. First, I want to thank you for your continued support and patience during this time as we work through ever-changing conditions. You’ve probably heard quite a bit lately about how the meat industry is being affected by COVID-19 and I wanted to address these concerns personally – particularly with regard to how they may, or more importantly may NOT be, impacting your orders with us. So here’s an honest COVID-19 update from us about everything regarding our process and your meat.
As always, I am happy to answer any questions you might have about anything you read below – or anything else you want to know about our company, our policies or what we know about what’s happening in the meat industry. Our goal is to share the knowledge we have so that everyone can make informed decisions about the food they are eating.
COVID-19 & Our Processing Partners
Unlike the larger meat processing plants that have been all over the news lately, we use two smaller, family-run operations. They don’t process as fast or in as close proximity to each other as some of the larger ones and are vigilant about sanitizing, masks, social distancing, partitions between employees, and regular health checks.
For reference, one of our processing partners has only 20 employees and the other has roughly 140. We are also vetting a third that has under 20 employees. They are also located in more rural areas of the US and therefore are not as susceptible to the massive spread being seen in some of the major cities. We are in constant contact with our partners and will modify our plans as necessary to keep everyone (including you) safe.
Our fulfillment company is also a small family-run operation that is following strict protocols as is FedEx, our shipping partner.
There is a growing concern about a possible meat shortage due to the way this virus is hitting major plants. We can’t say whether this will be the case or not. What we can say is that we still have a large amount of meat in stock with more on the way. We may not always have every cut, but we will have meat. We are working hard to source more through other small ranches that need help finding a market for their meat right now.
Though it’s been complicated to figure out, this is actually exciting news for several reasons. One, it allows us to bring you more quality meats and products from different partners – the oils and vinegars from Saffi Foods were the first of many (we hope). Two, it helps ensure that precious food and animals do not go to waste. This is always important but especially now when many people are struggling to feed themselves and their families. And three, it allows us (and you) to support other small ranches and businesses and help them get their products out to the market in new ways.
Some of the exciting new products and partnerships we have coming soon include:
- Savory Institute certified “Land-to-Market” Bison (more on this soon!)
- 100% grassfed Waygu beef
- Bison tallow
- Naturally raised pork and lamb (further in the future but still coming!)
As usual, any meat or products we bring you will be of the highest quality and standards.
Shipping Times & Costs
Some of you may have experienced a delay with your meat and we apologize for that. Every aspect of the supply chain is being tested daily by constantly changing variables. The latest one we are facing is a shortage of dry ice which, as you know, is essential to keep your order frozen during transit. To accommodate for this shortage, we have upgraded our shipping times so that all orders will automatically be sent via FedEx two-day now, requiring less dry ice to stay frozen in transit.
Orders under $250 (that are not a Chef’s Box) will see an increased standard shipping rate to account for the increased shipping cost. Orders over $250 (and our Chef’s Boxes) will still ship free so this is your best and cheapest option! The good news here is that everyone gets their meat faster!
This is a tough one for us. Even as it became apparent very early on that the costs of doing business were rising, we decided not to raise prices, choosing instead to run a month-long site-wide sale to try and make our healthy meats more accessible to more people during the crisis. However, every facet of our business has seen increased costs due to COVID-19 – from shipping and processing to the cost of the meat itself. Since compromising on the quality of our meat is never an option, we finally had to increase some of our prices.
With access to healthy food more of an issue than ever, we have not raised prices on any of the cuts we deem to be “essentials” or staples. So things like ground meat, roasts, stew meat, bones, etc, will remain priced as is. Some of the more decadent cuts have been increased to reflect the new cost of business and the continued quality that we continue to provide. Since you’ve read this far, you are most likely already aware that there is a big difference between our meat and a lot of what is commercially available. We pay our ranchers a premium for their animals because they follow regenerative practices and treat the animals humanely. This results in the quality meat you have come to rely on us for and we won’t compromise that, pandemic or not.
The Good News!
Yes, there is some! First, we are transitioning over to our new sustainable packaging in the next few weeks. This was a major goal for us this year – and something we know that was very important to you as well. No more styrofoam cooler – the new packaging is made from post-consumer recycled materials that is 100% recyclable. So stay tuned for that!
Second, thanks to some of our new partnerships, we are not only able to bring you a wider selection of quality meats, but we (that includes you!) can also feel good knowing that you are helping to support small businesses and ranches during this time (including us!). So, thank you! Learn more about our Grazing Partners here.
I hope you found this COVID-19 update informative and reassuring. As always, we are here to answer any additional questions you might have about our processes or the meat industry. Call us at (360) 399-6363 or email us at email@example.com.