The hospitality industry, among many others, is facing unprecedented challenges in 2020. Yesterday’s certainties are today’s unknowns, with opportunities for the future often shifting overnight. Partially because of Covid-19 and restrictions imposed on hospitality providers and their customers, the normal complexities of business are no longer normal. Almost every supplier, producer, and restaurateur is scrambling to keep up with shifting priorities and uncommon market conditions. At Noble Premium Bison, we believe that at times of great uncertainty, it’s important to be certain of who you are and what you stand for.
Conviction, integrity and transparency—not just buzzwords
Many people would agree that ‘these are the worst of times’. Beloved restaurants that have been serving loyal customers for decades, are now considering closing their doors forever. Chefs who put their heart and soul into inventing, preparing and entertaining patrons, have had to put their dreams, and the livelihood of their staff, on hold. Sous chefs, mixologists, servers and support staff who’ve worked their entire adult lives in the hospitality business are asking ‘what next?’
Producers from agriculture industries like our own are wondering if there will continue to be a sustainable market for their animals and products, and at what cost. Families like ours, who have been raising Canadian bison for generations, are finding new ways to do what we love, while supporting the bison industry and our community.
As a long-term supplier of premium bison meat to the hospitality industry in Canada and Europe, we’re continuing to challenge ourselves to be best in class within a business environment that is both unpredictable—and emotional. For us, that means re-evaluating short and long-term goals, as well as shifting strategies and priorities. It means ensuring we implement sustainability on multiple levels, not just for the benefit of the environment, but also for the benefit of producers and their communities. More importantly, it means confirming the values we hold most dear; values like conviction, integrity and transparency.
The hospitality industry will recover. In ‘The Future of Hospitality: Uncovering Opportunities to Thrive in the New Normal’, Deloitte tells us that
“understanding and responding to consumers’ changing behavior’s will be essential to the recovery of the hospitality sector. Organizations will need to reimagine the customer experience and re-engage with customers to build and maintain their trust. At the same time, they will need to improve their operational agility and financial resilience to navigate the uncertainties of doing business in a world wracked by pandemic.”
When you can’t see the future, don’t lose sight of what you do best.
Sometimes when the going gets tough, it’s natural to want to lay low until the path ahead is more clearly in focus. But that’s not our philosophy at Noble Premium Bison. We started building a retail-centric brand before there was much consumer demand for bison meat in Canada. We were, and continue to be, so convinced of the culinary and nutritional benefits of bison meat, and the environmental advantage to raising bison, that we committed ourselves to not only building a brand, but building a product category as well. We started small, aligning with national retailers like Sobeys and Costco in Western Canada. Noble quickly grew to supply premium bison products to consumers across Canada. We now sell our premium bison steaks, bison steak cubes and lean and extra lean ground bison across Canada at Sobeys, and in western Canada at Costco, Thrifty Foods, Safeway, Calgary Co-op and select IGA stores.
How did we do this? By building for the future vs maintaining the status quo, diversifying our product offering and markets, and never wavering on what we do best—producing higher value Canadian bison products through regenerative ranching, and operating with integrity at every stage of our business.
What does operating with integrity mean?
Part of operating with integrity means working with people and organizations whose values align with our own. In the field of sustainable agriculture for example, experts like Alan Savory, of the Savory Institute, are part of a ‘global movement of farmers & land managers, conscientious brands & consumers, and committed champions & supporters’ whose goal is to support and work towards advancing regenerative agriculture. Sustainability also applies to producer families who are not only practicing sustainable ranching but are supporting their farms, ranches and livelihoods.
The industry has to be sustainable environmentally, economically, and socially, which is why organizations like the Canadian Bison Association are so important in their mission to “bring together members, and create the environment that contributes to the bison industry’s success—domestically and globally.”
At Noble, we’ve been practicing regenerative land management for three generations. With a focus on improving biodiversity within the soil and above ground, we’re revitalizing the Canadian grasslands our bison graze on, as well as the ecosystem that supports them. We’ll continue to find new ways to positively impact climate change, an issue that affects industries beyond agriculture. As Dr. Susanne Becken, Professor of Sustainable Tourism at Griffith University in Australia and the Principal Science Investment Advisor (Visitor) in the (NZ) Department of Conservation tells us in her article, ‘Rethinking tourism – less could be more’, “Now is the time to rethink ‘value’ and ‘product’ […] We need to move away from the notion of mass production and economies of scale to focus on higher value products.” At Noble Premium Bison, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Working with integrity means prioritizing rigorous food safety protocols from the ranch to the customer. This means our bison are never given growth stimulants or antibiotics; it also means partnering with the only fully certified, single species facility in North America. This HACCP processing facility is certified to the highest standard under Safe Quality Food program (SQF) and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), and is EU approved to facilitate our European shipments. It’s also located in North Dakota, mandating that our packaging indicate Product of USA, even though our business, our producers and our bison are 100% Canadian. Canada has one of the safest food systems in the world, and we’re working hard to develop our own best practices to ensure the safety and quality of all the bison products we sell, to both our wholesale and retail customers.
At Noble, we’re not just delivering premium bison products. We’re delivering on core values of transparency—with our clients and customers; integrity—in the decisions we make professionally and personally; and generosity—with our time, our expertise and our resources. We want to raise the best bison, but more importantly, we want to raise the bar for ourselves and for our industry—our health and planet depend on it.
For more information on our brand, our story, and how we can help you put Noble Premium Bison on the menu, visit us at noblepremiumbison.ca or contact Kelly Long at Kelly@noblepremiumbison.ca