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Niman Ranch founder won’t eat the meat?

A fascinating article in the Chronicle about the departure of Niman Ranch’s founder from his own company was brought to my attention yesterday. As most foodies (and chefs) know, Bill Niman’s sustainably and humanely raised meats were the darlings of many a kitchen despite their cost.

Seems that in Niman’s case, sustainability and ‘doing good’ couldn’t ultimately make a profit and the company narrowly escaped bankruptcy by turning its holdings over to Chicago’s Natural Food Holdings LLC. Niman has stepped away from the business and is now claiming that the company’s standards have dropped significantly.

It’s a tale that I’ve heard over and over and over again. I’ve been a huge fan of many artisan producers who, frankly, just couldn’t ultimately make the business succeed financially. Ideals are lofty notions that don’t always jibe with the cold, hard reality of capitalism.

It breaks my heart, just as the sale of Scharffen Berger to Hershey’s broke my heart. And the loss of so many other great producers.

The good news is that there’s always seems to be someone with a big idea, big hopes and big dreams ready to fill the void. I hope.

Read the Chronicle article. 

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Comments

3 thoughts on “Niman Ranch founder won’t eat the meat?

  1. I have been purchasing Niman products exclusively for years now and have always been very satisfied with the high quality. I am saddened to hear that the company has sold.
    I recognized that Niman brand was more expensive, but I was “Voting with my dollars” and did so to support very good practice.
    I was so happy to be able to find a food source that wasn’t contaminated with pesticides, wasn’t subject to the bad feed that contributes to mad cow’s disease, and wasn’t filled with hormones and antibiotics. Just good food.
    Thank you to Mr. Niman for his dedication to better quality. I am sorry the profits were not there for you to sustain your business.
    I will not purchase any meat or fish unless it is certified to be safe for human consumption.
    Good luck.

  2. I have been purchasing Niman products exclusively for years now and have always been very satisfied with the high quality. I am saddened to hear that the company has sold.
    I recognized that Niman brand was more expensive, but I was “Voting with my dollars” and did so to support very good practice.
    I was so happy to be able to find a food source that wasn’t contaminated with pesticides, wasn’t subject to the bad feed that contributes to mad cow’s disease, and wasn’t filled with hormones and antibiotics. Just good food.
    Thank you to Mr. Niman for his dedication to better quality. I am sorry the profits were not there for you to sustain your business.
    I will not purchase any meat or fish unless it is certified to be safe for human consumption.
    Good luck.

  3. The Niman story is very interesting but not like Scharffen Berger at all. The Scharffen Berger sale was making a lot of money –the second time he has sold a profitable business to a large competitor. He builds the brand and sells it.
    The Niman issues are entirely different.

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