Social

We have the meats!

ButcherBox

2. Zero Hunger 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 13. Climate Action 14. Life Below Water 15. Life on Land

Overview

ButcherBox started with a mission to make high-quality meat more accessible to all. The company soon discovered that meant more than delivering 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken, pork raised crate-free, and sustainably sourced seafood: It meant rethinking the country’s food system. ButcherBox is in pursuit of a better way, one that’s focused on animal welfare, supporting farmers, treating the planet with respect and upholding diversity, equity, and inclusion across its business.

Author

Jacob Silorey

Jacob Silorey

School

Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University

Professor

Timothy Palmer

Timothy Palmer

Innovation

ButcherBox cares about the lives of animals and are proud to partner with local farmers who raise animals and fishermen that harvest seafood with safety and sustainability in mind. Farmers, the people who harness the power of nature, should earn fair and predictable living wages. ButcherBox believes in creating an environment where all workers are treated equitably and that their diverse identities are celebrated.

The company not only strives to feed people with the highest quality of meat and seafood but also promote positive agricultural practices. The organization is committed to giving back and has woven this perspective into their business philosophy through targeted philanthropy focused on enhancing lives of local farmers. In 2020, ButcherBox supported several farmer focused organizations that could assist farmers in adapting to COVID-19. A second focus area was on assisting minority farming students who are pursuing educational paths within the industry. Organizations that ButcherBox supports include Next Generation Foundation, American Farmland Trust, National Young Farmers Coalition, Legal Action Group: Farmers, National Black Farmers Association and Food Animal Concerns Trust.

We have the meats!

Inspiration

The inspiration behind ButcherBox comes from Mike Salguero, Founder and current CEO, who was motivated to find a better way to feed his family. He connected with a local cattle farmer in 2015. After meeting this farmer and his 100% grass-fed beef operation, Mike had two revelations: “The taste is better” and, “The current system is not working."

Mike discovered that grass-fed beef tastes amazing, especially the cuts that are not available in nationwide food retailers and neighborhood supermarkets. However, purchasing directly from a source is not a viable option for most consumers. There had to be an easier way to find high-quality, humanely raised meat besides going to the source.

These realizations led to the question, “Shouldn't there be an easier way to find high-quality, humanely raised meat?” After not being able to find a business responding to this need, Mike Salguero founded ButcherBox. Since then, the company has grown and expanded the products delivered to doorsteps across America, all while taking steps to improve food systems.

Overall impact

CEO and Founder, Mike Salguero, has a simple phrase for his mission-driven organization. That phrase is “Believe in Better.” The pandemic did not stall the growth of ButcherBox. In fact, it did just the opposite. Despite being in the midst of pandemic that phrase “Believe in Better” struck a chord throughout the business. How can the company continue to work toward their mission of offering a product that takes animal welfare, farmers and fishermen, our planet, employees and the community into consideration in every decision made by the company?

ButcherBox became a Certified B Corporation in November, 2020. Achieving it's certification with a score of 81.1 was a significant accomplishment for the company. ButcherBox became the largest meat brand to become certified and will allow them to remain committed to being a mission-driven organization, building a lasting business and proving that business profitability can run in tandem with social and environmental initiatives.

Putting a magnifying glass on themselves, ButcherBox has current strategies (short and long term) that focus on how to improve to grow their social and environmental impact. These areas of focus consist of -

1.) Worker Welfare: Currently the focus is on growing diversity, equity and inclusion by increasing the diversity of applicants and, ultimately, its workforce. These attempts are bolstered by creating policies around promotion and career development. Over the long-term, ButcherBox wants to extend their strategies into its supply chain by connecting with industry experts regarding worker welfare in the meat cutting and fulfillment industries and to identify the mechanisms to enhance worker welfare.

2.) Carbon, Soil Health, and Livestock: Monitoring and measuring carbon emissions starts with shipping and transportation. This helps in identifying ways to reduce emissions and invest in projects that capture carbon. The future is to connect with farmers, industry experts and policy makers to promote regenerative agriculture practices, invest in research projects to promote better soil health and continue to measure carbon emissions across the entire supply chain.

3.) Racial Inequity in the Food and Farming System: ButcherBox is attempting to make a difference by financially supporting organizations that are increasing access to high-quality and healthy food and working to break systems of racial oppression in farming. Over the long-term, ButcherBox is exploring ways to make their products more financially accessible to a wider range of prospective customers.

Business benefit

A major milestone for ButcherBox in 2020, in addition to becoming a certified B Corporation, was being placed on Boston Globe’s top places to work for a second time. The list highlights 150 of the best companies to work for across the state of Massachusetts. The list is developed based on anonymous employee surveys covering factors from leadership to benefits to feeling appreciated.

Looking past the employees, ButcherBox added several new products to the menu in 2020. Examples include increased seafood product such as halibut, cod and lobster. Other additions included ground turkey, ground bison and hot dogs. With this expansion of products came the opportunity to welcome new farmers, ranchers, and fisherman as suppliers and team members. The initial success achieved by ButcherBox allowed for this critical expansion that not only increased access to key market segments but also reduced risk exposure the firm faced by dependence on a small number of suppliers.

Social and environmental benefit

Innovations at ButcherBox have led to a number of social and environmental benefits. Their recent expansion through new product lines allows the company to support more local farmers and small sustainable businesses.

Because of the company's commitment to humane livestock and fishing practices, they have become aligned with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' (ASPCA) 2024 Boiler Chicken Initiative. Through this pledge, ButcherBox has guaranteed that by 2024 or before, 100% of their chicken will come from Global Animal Partnership (GAP) approved breeds - a verification of better living environments for chickens including more space and enrichment, better lighting and better living conditions.

ButcherBox is also expanding the quest for seafood traceability through Legit Fish program. This would mean 100% of its salmon catch would be traceable down to the boats they were caught on, they day of the catch, and when fish were processed. In 2020, ButcherBox was able to add the Responsible Fisheries Management logo to their products. The salmon is sourced through Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Fishery, which is widely recognized for its leadership in sustainability and responsible management. Affiliations such as these mean ButcherBox is having its seafood assessed using internationally agreed upon principles for responsible fisheries management.

In early 2020, ButcherBox worked with packaging partners to introduce two additional box sizes, now offering six sizes. Expanding the number of box sizes significantly cuts down on wasted space during shipping and simultaneously resulted in a 2.5% reduction (from 3.9% to 1.4%) in split shipments. That may not sound like a large number but the decrease cut down the number of boxes used in shipping while also reducing the carbon footprint caused by extra boxes being shipped to customers.

Last, attention to packaging has provided extra societal benefits. ButcherBox uses only delivery boxes that are made from 100% recycled paper. Using 100% recycled paper in 2020 allowed ButcherBox to save:

  • 68,000 Trees
  • 28 Million Gallons of Water
  • 13,200 Yards of Landfill Waste
  • 4,000 Tons of Greenhouse Emissions
  • 16 Million KWHS Hours of Electricity

Interview

Joe Kowalski, Packaging Program Manager

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ButcherBox

ButcherBox

Boston, US

Business Website: https://www.butcherbox.com

Year Founded: 2015

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

Butcher Box is a subscription service for fresh, high quality cuts of meat, fish, and poultry. With various plans and subscription options available, this company is particularly popular among consumers seeking a convenient way to order humanely sourced premium products that add more protein variety to their diet.