Marketing Niche Meats
Demand for specialty meats is growing rapidly in the U.S., with consumer demand for niche meat products often motivated by the belief that natural and organic meats are fresher, have better nutritional value, taste, and long-term health benefits than conventional meats, and that the animals are healthier and better treated than conventional livestock.
Livestock slaughter and processing services are often difficult for ranchers to access. For a searchable directory of USDA-inspected and Custom Exempt facilities in California, see:
The website of the Niche Meats Processing Assistance Network contains many resources to assist ranchers and others in developing a niche meats business and processing facilities. It includes spreadsheets for feasibility studies, facility designs, a business planning guide, case studies, a guide on how to apply for a government meat and poultry facility inspection and much more: http://www.nichemeatprocessing.org/
The following publications provide information on different aspects of niche meat marketing in California and in the United States.
- Northern California Niche Meat Market Demand Study (PDF)
This report is part of a three-pronged feasibility study by Lauren Gwin and Shermain Hardesty for a mid-scale, USDA-inspected multi-species slaughter and processing facility to be built on the northern coast of California.
- Outlook for a Small Farm Meat Goat Industry for California (PDF)
A report on the status and growth potential for goat meat production in California.
- Marketing Meat is a Tough Business (PDF)
UCCE Farm Advisor Roger Ingram, a meat marketing expert in Placer County, presents practical information on approaches and issues to consider for niche meat marketing.
- Niche Marketing of Beef in California Update (PDF)
A review of the six main components to any niche beef marketing effort, from 2006.