U.S. Bison Sales Hit $340 Million, Growth Limited by Supply

Growing Demand Creates New Opportunities in Bison Ranching

Westminster, CO (May 26, 2016) The U.S. bison business has grown into a $340 million category at the retail and foodservice level, with continued growth primarily constrained by the limited supply of market-ready animals, according to information compiled by the National Bison Association this week.
The association’s analysis was based on the results of the latest survey of commercial bison marketers, along with the release of its annual analysis on the Economic Size of the U.S. Bison Business.
“The bison market is enjoying strong stability and profitability, with growth projected to continue as long as we can expand herds across the country,” said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association. “Our primary focus today is reaching out to producers to build the herds of bison across the country.”
According to the association’s annual Economic Size of the Bison Business model, sales of bison meat in retail stores and restaurants have grown by 22.3 percent over the past two years.
Further, the bison association’s latest twice-yearly survey of commercial marketers found that 94 percent of those businesses could easily expand sales if  additional product was available, with nearly half of the marketers projecting that they could sell at least 15 percent more bison meat at current prices. Every marketer responding to the association’s survey reported heavy demand for bison trim (used to make burgers), and 69 percent reported that orders for pet food ingredients is exceeding their available supply.
“The growing popularity of bison meat is providing a strong, stable foundation for our business,” Carter said. “Bison today is perhaps the strongest growth area in American agriculture, a growth area that is bringing back  our National Mammal to more of its historic rangelands and pastures.”
The National Bison Association has developed new educational materials, and is conducting a series of workshops to encourage new entrants into the bison ranching and marketing business. Information on those resources is available at www.bisoncentral.com.
The bison association has regularly surveyed major commercial marketers since 2011 twice annually to gauge the issues that are impacting the bison business in the marketplace. The participants in the survey represent more than 85 percent of the bison meat sold in the United States.

The association’s assessment of the economic size of the bison business is based on a model using U.S. Department of Agriculture data, along with information provided by the major marketers.