Every year on April 22, individuals and businesses come together for Earth Day, a celebration of sustainability and the environment. EPIC is one brand that’s no stranger to putting the planet first. “We strive to honor nature by partnering with ranchers and non-profit organizations that are committed to creating a positive return on the planet through grassland restoration,” said co-founders Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest.
“We make decisions by asking ourselves how it will impact the land.”
Many food companies strive for sustainability, but EPIC takes it a step further. “The concept of regenerating our planet through grassland restoration is built into the DNA of our brand,” they shared. “We make decisions by asking ourselves how it will impact the land.”
In addition to making high-quality bars, bone broths, and snacks like pork rinds, EPIC works to shift the public narrative around regeneration. “Through our sourcing initiatives, we’re creating a large-scale environmental impact that’s focused on scaling livestock production. It’s managed in a way that increases soil health, sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, and creates diverse ecosystems for native and migratory animals.”
It’s been a year since we checked in with EPIC, so here are some of the burning questions we had about animal welfare, conscious consumerism, and the industry outlook.
What’s new with the Whole Animal Project? (Last time we checked in, you were on the road to champion nose-to-tail eating.)
We’re gearing up to launch a whole muscle meat jerky utilizing the steak cuts of animals. “Through this new product innovation, we’re converting 85 percent of the entire beef and bison animals that we source into nutrient-rich food. We’re also making major improvements in our chicken and pork supply chains, and expect to be above 75 percent of the chicken carcass soon.
How can consumers can be more intentional about their meat consumption?
If a consumer decides to eat meat, they need to be aware of how that animal was raised. We call this being a “conscious carnivore.” Knowing the details surrounding the animal’s life, helps consumers support the agricultural system that aligns with their beliefs and values.
When it comes to animal welfare, is there anything you’re particularly optimistic about, or any positive changes you’ve seen in the last few years?
We’ll share two stories, one that illustrates the incredible impact our consumers have had, and another that shows there’s still plenty of runway to cover.
First, EPIC has been a key driver in quadrupling the herd of 100% grass-fed bison in North America. That’s thousands upon thousands of animals whose diets and lives have changed thanks to the support of our consumers.
Second, we’ll highlight the impact we’ll have on egg-laying hens with the launch of the EPIC Performance Bar this summer. With this launch, we were able to transition three conventional farms to cage-free, and we converted all the feed on those farms to non-GMO. For EPIC, this still isn’t good enough, and we’re working to continue pushing our suppliers for even higher standards, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction and wouldn’t be possible without the support of retailers and consumers.
Finally, what new products are you most excited about?
For years we’ve been able to positively impact chickens raised for meat by pushing for higher standards, but had no way of impacting the hundreds of thousands of hens raised for egg laying. That changes this summer, when EPIC launches our EPIC Performance Bar. It’s a protein bar that utilizes egg whites as the source of its protein, and it’s our opportunity to directly impact the American egg supply chain.
As we mentioned, we transitioned three conventional farms to cage-free, and converted the feed to non-GMO because we know the hens’ diet is crucial to egg quality. It’s one more way EPIC’s deepening its impact on human, animal, and environmental health.