Back when Crowd Cow got its start, the idea was both simple and a little weird: the company sold one cow at a time on its website to the "crowd", a randomly assembled group of first-come, first-buy online strangers who would go in together to buy every last part of the cow from the tongue to tail.
In those early days, Crowd Cow's customer based was a mix of environmentally minded consumers looking for more ethically sourced meat and culinary adventurers seeking access to locally grown, small farm meat.
Half a decade later, the company is still selling to the same eco-conscious consumers and hardcore foodies, but nowadays the fast-growing online meat seller also finds what cofounder Joe Heitzberg calls ‘backyard grilling dads’ and ‘head of household females’ among its key customer groups.
This expansion into more mainstream buyers has come as the company moved away from its original crowdfund-the-cow concept to a fast-growing online business that sells small-farm beef, pork, poultry and even fish to consumers in a variety of formats, including subscriptions. Just as in the early days, Crowd Cow continues to source form small farmers and local co-ops who are sidestepping the massive industrial meat-processing complex.
I caught up with Joe last month to discuss how the company’s business has evolved over the past half-decade, the launch of their fast-growing subscription business and to see how the pandemic has changed their business.
The interview is an exclusive offering for Spoon Plus members. You can learn more about Spoon Plus here.
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