Bison are back on the move.
After years of slumping sales, demand for bison meat is rising.
More than 42,000 bison were processed under federal inspection in the U.S. in 2006, compared with 35,260 in 2005 – a 20% jump.
According to USDA, the 2006 processing levels are more than double the number of bison processed in 2001.
North Dakota and South Dakota have the biggest concentration of bison in the U.S.
"People are discovering bison as a flavorful, healthy alternative to everyday meats", says Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association in Denver, Colo. "It's popping up on restaurant menus, and in retail cases, throughout the country as more and more people include bison as a part of their diet."
Carter says cooking, health, and environmental trends are contributing to growing popularity.
"It's a flavorful meat that's slightly sweeter than beef and easy to prepare. The low fat, high protein and high iron content of bison fits well with today's health-conscious consumer. And, bison is a natural meat, produced sustainably without added growth hormones or antibiotics."