Meat brokers work to connect meat producers with consumers, helping to effectively distribute animal protein. Brokers may specialize in a few types of meat, or distribute a wide range of meats. Knowing terminology related to this industry can assist in selecting a broker to work with.
Game Species - Non-domesticated species of animals. Although not domesticated, these wild animals can be bred and raised in captivity. These animals may be grass fed, or eat specially formulated food based on their nutritional needs. Farmed game species give consumers access to exotic meats without compromising conservation efforts.
Venison - A general term for meat from deer, elk, moose, pronghorn, caribou, or antelope. Though many people use venison to refer only to deer meat, it actually describes all of these types of meat. These meats tend to be lean with a gamey flavor.
Guineafowl - Also called a guinea hen or African pheasant. These small birds are related to chickens. They are often sold whole. The meat of young guineafowl is much more tender than that of older birds.
Grass-Fed Beef - Beef which comes from cows that ate a grass-based diet. Grass is the natural food source for cows, and many consumers appreciate grass-fed beef as a more natural type of meat. They may be raised in conjunction with other types of agriculture. Many of these products are also organic.
Pastured Chicken - A style of raising chickens in which they are able to live outside without a threat of predators. Bottomless cages are moved around, giving chickens access to many different tracts of land.
Lamb Rib Crown Roast - A cut of lamb. The ribs are formed into a circle and the two ends are secured together, forming what appears to be a crown.
Meat brokers facilitate the buying and selling of bulk quantities of raw, canned, frozen, and fresh meat, such as chicken, ham, pork, veal, and venison. They act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers, negotiating the prices based on volume, quality, and demand. Such brokers often work with grocery stores, convenience stores, catering companies, butchers, and wholesale distributors to get them the best prices from slaughterhouses and farmers. Traders may also sell animals from livestock farmers to slaughterhouses.
Since all meat products are regulated by the FDA, they must meet certain requirements. Brokers know the ins and outs of these requirements and regulations. Retail grocery stores in particular may contract with food brokers to ensure they are getting the best deal on animal protein such as lamb, mutton, and beef for their customers. Brokers work to find the lowest discount prices for good foods, acting as food specialists in the agriculture and food products industry.
Grocery stores, in turn, benefit by obtaining low market prices on white and red meats, and even organic and all natural products. For this service, brokers and traders charge a commission. They may also offer organized shipping, logistics, shipping, and transport as well. Each meat broker in the business may have a specialty, whether they choose to focus on canned, raw, frozen, boneless, or fresh meats. They may also further specialize in a particular category of meat, such as red. Some offer popular meats like sirloin steak, pork chops, and chicken, while others offer specialty cuts of meat such as buffalo. Still others are grass fed meat brokers, which means their products feature no antibiotics, hormones, or herbicides and pesticides.