BUFF was honored to be a part of the May muchbetter box. For those that don't know what it is....its a monthly subscription snack box that comes directly to your door. Each month is different and always features the healthiest and tastiest options!
They did a little feature on BUFF and we were so happy with the response it received!!
We put something a little different in our March subscription box – a meat stick! But this wasn’t some run-of-the-mill pepperette. It was from an exciting new company called BUFF, run by a husband-and-wife team in Shallow Lake, Ontario. Their snack sticks are made from Canadian, hormone-free bison meat for a clean and lean protein.
We talked to co-founder Heather Shouldice about her foray into the snack business.
How did BUFF start?
It started from a desire to know more about what we were eating. Also, a friend and coach suggested trying bison as a lean red meat. We sourced some locally and were hooked from the first bite. We started incorporating more bison into our meals, and then one day we were packing lunches with traditional pepperettes and thought, “we could make a better one of these.”
Any memorable stories from your first year in business?
As with year one in any new small business, we had a big learning curve. We’re from marketing and manufacturing backgrounds, and both have entrepreneurial brains – but no experience in the food industry. From cold calls with vendors to independent testing of our product to ensure its safety, everything was a process and took way longer than we expected.
Finding the balance of work and family is always the challenge. Luckily for us, our kids love BUFF and happily help wherever they can, and we love working together. There will be plenty of moments we look back on and think – “how did we get through that?” or “why did we do it that way?”, but in the end we couldn’t be happier with the product we’re selling.
Where do you get your bison meat?
Our current source for BUFF is a federally inspected plant in Quebec. For our own consumption, we’ve found two small local farms to get our meat. We’ve also started our own farm, Big Rock Bison, where we’ll have our own herd of bison this summer, and where we’ll have a farm gate store, as well as supplying local and in the GTA butcher shops once we’re at full capacity.
How did you taste-test your product and come up with the ingredient list?
We brought in samples from all over North America. We did a lot of research into healthy versions of pepperettes and tasted too many to mention. We analyzed the ingredient list and nutritional profile of all of them, then did comparisons and came up with our final list. We knew we wanted to be as natural as possible with no fillers. Through research and trial and error, we got there and are so happy with our final product!
What are your future plans for BUFF?
We have many products we want to launch under the BUFF brand, all 100% bison and all natural. But with the new farm and life, we have to walk before we run. In the next year, keep an eye out for at least one new BUFF product. In the meantime, we’ll continue selling though our BUFF online store and through our vendor network across Ontario. Our number one goal is to keep loving what we’re doing, enjoying the process of working with new vendors and customers, and having fun with it.