Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 89

E

-commerce has been a lifeline for
consumers that are spending more
time at home and less time out-andabout due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns
and related business closures. The marketplace
shift plays right into the strategy of Seattle-based
Crowd Cow, an online marketplace for highquality meat, poultry, seafood and organic foods.
Started about five years ago by co-founders
Ethan Lowry and Joe Heitzeberg, the business
model was simple enough and prophetic:
"crowd fund" a cow by charging about 50
people to buy cuts of beef directly from the
producer via the internet.
Heitzeberg provided an update on how the
company has evolved and grown since 2015
and what the pandemic means for e-commerce
sales of fresh meat and poultry.

past three months. The percentage more than
doubled to 40% by May.
Challenges impacting the traditional
meat supply chain and changing consumer
behavior in both where consumers eat and
how they're getting meals these days have
placed companies such as Crowd Cow at
the intersection of these shifting patterns.
Heitzeberg said these trends may represent
the new normal for online sales of meat and
poultry products.

Ethan Lowry (left) and Joe
Heitzeberg founded Crowd
Cow five years ago by
selling "shares" or cuts of
beef from a single animal.

Photos: Crowd Cow

GETTING STARTED
Heitzeberg explained that Crowd Cow began
as "a really big idea and a really small idea."
"...meaning, we knew at the very earliest, at
the very instance of the idea stage that there's
a very big opportunity here," he said. "It was an
epiphany of a very small idea. A mutual friend
of my co-founder and I were going to a small
island off Seattle where they raise some cattle.
"He was bragging about how good it tastes
and how honored he felt to be connected to
that person and that family who took care of
every animal. They settled the land; they took
care of the land. It's sustainable; no pesticides,
ever, on the grass, and it's just beautiful.
"It was the jealousy of not being able to get
that meat - he wouldn't share."
But Lowry and Heitzeberg also wondered
about the effort their friend was making to get
that experience and connection with the meat
- including driving a giant truck out to the
island and having a giant meat freezer.
"It was the insanity of going through
that level of trouble to get something a little
better, because it's important to people,"
Heitzeberg said.
So, the two long-time friends founded
Crowd Cow to stop the meat madness by
offering their customers sustainability,
transparency and a story combined with the
convenience of ordering off the internet.
In August, The NPD Group reported that,
before the pandemic, 19% of Americans said
they purchased edible groceries online in the

"My relationship
with the customer
is intimate. They
know us, we
know them. If
we can use that
information to
personalize that
experience or
make it better,
that's something
we can do."
- JOE HEITZEBERG

www.meatpoultry.com | 10.20 | MEAT+ POULTRY

89


http://www.meatpoultry.com

Meat+Poultry - October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - October 2020

Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 1
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - VDG - 1
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - VDG - 2
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 1
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 2
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