Last January, EPIC announced its groundbreaking and most revolutionary idea ever: the Whole Animal Project. Created in the name of honoring nature and minimizing waste, we made it our mission to use as much of the animal as possible to fuel our award-winning line of bars, strips, oils, and broths. In the process, we strengthened our movement for nourishing products and a more transparent food industry.
But our work had just begun. Since then, we’ve ceaselessly searched for responsible and forward-thinking suppliers and ranchers to source our animals from. Thanks to incredible efforts by White Oak Pastures and a few other top-notch ranches, we have developed a clear process and criteria for selecting partners who are willing to go the extra mile to ensure their animals are grass fed, raised in the conditions nature intended, and nothing is put to waste. You are the company you keep, especially when it comes to food.
That’s why we’re especially thrilled about our recently announced partnership with Northstar Bison. For so many reasons, they are the prototype for the future of thoughtful, attentive animal care. They grass feed and grass finish all their bison. They are in tune with holistic land management practices and work tirelessly to do things the right way instead of the easy way. But perhaps most of all: they’re vital to the next generation of our Whole Animal Project.
At the moment, EPIC uses roughly 85% of the bison and beef we source. We use the different cuts of meat in our bars, bites, and snack strips, the fats for our cooking oils, and bones for our bone broth. No other large-scale producer is making a more concerted effort—and succeeding—to minimize waste. But thanks to Northstar Bison and the 1,000 baby bison we recently helped them purchase, we’re upping the ante and pledging to use 98% of every animal we source from them. Make no mistake about it: that’s unheard of.
There’s no secret formula to what we’re doing, either. We’ve simply found a partner who is as dedicated to utilizing the whole animal as we are. It’s truly a symbiotic relationship for all. EPIC now has direct access to a robust and growing supply of grass fed American bison, which will bolster our large number of high quality bison products and allow us to continue using about 85% of each animal. Meanwhile, Northstar is going to fill in the gaps by accessing outlets in their community to salvage the parts of the bison we cannot use—such as their heads, hides, glands, organs, spinal cord, tripe and tendons. Rather than being discarded, these pieces will be used decoratively (skulls from the heads and leather from the hides), consumed (tendons, tripe, and organ meat for eating or drinking in stews/broths), or for medicinal purposes (glands and spinal cords). That will drastically optimize our ability to honor the bounties of these majestic creatures and ensure they’re never taken for granted. Furthermore, they’ll help us raise the bar (yet again) and push our company to do better.
This is crucial. The truth is, we can’t afford to sit still if we want the rest of the food industry to follow suit. We have to keep asking more from ourselves and listening to our consumers, who have wholeheartedly supported our mission to do more with less. Through this, we can continue fueling the flourishing food revolution and demand products that are better for our bodies, our lands, and our animals. Steps like this are major, and we’re proud to be pushing our Whole Animal Project to new heights. We truly are honoring the whole damn bison.