Colorado State University Researcher to Evaluate Bison Marketing Strategies

A Colorado State University agricultural economics professor is leading an evaluation of the National Bison Association’s marketing strategies. Dawn Thilmany, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State, will help gauge the effectiveness of a series of events in Salt Lake City, Utah. The promotion, which runs through Oct. 31, includes ways to introduce consumers to bison. The activities are funded by a grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.       

Colorado State’s involvement with the bison association will lead to expanding ways that bison producers can market products to the public. "With this project, CSU will evaluate how consumer attitudes, awareness and sales related to bison are affected by joint promotional activities with chef and food retailer partners," Thilmany said. "Our findings may allow us to make more affordable, targeted marketing strategy recommendations to smaller food producers."

One chef in Colorado is already featuring bison occasionally on his menu. Tom Stoner, who manages the Spoons Soups & Salads restaurant in the Lory Student Center on the Colorado State campus, will feature a different bison-based soup at least one day of each week during September. Soups such as "High Plains Buffalo Chili", "Cowboy Buffalo Stew" and "Colorado Farmers Market Vegetable with Buffalo" will be served. Stoner said that bison is versatile and complements produce that he receives from local farmers markets.

Thilmany, who has completed various consumer and economic impact analyses for meats, produce and a variety of foods, hopes to have her evaluation of the promotional efforts for bison completed and shared with producers by spring 2009.