This start-up is taking the mystery out of mystery meat by letting beef lovers crowdsource a live cow directly from ranchers.
"Our customers purchase into a live animal, see the pastures it grazed and the family who raised it, and even know the pedigree of their steak," said Hannah Raudsepp, founder of Honest Beef Company.
Raudsepp, a Nebraska native who grew up on an Angus cattle ranch eating beef every day, told CNBC, "misperceptions about beef production are rampant, in order to fully understand and trust our food, we need to be closer to its source. "
So in February 2016 she launched Honest Beef Company, an online platform where consumers can purchase a share of a live animal directly from American ranchers and have premium beef delivered to their doorstep nationwide.
"Crowdsourcing beef is one way to offer the transparency consumers deserve, and to give beef producers an equal snapshot into where their beef goes and who it nourishes," said Raudsepp.
The start-up's website offers a variety of pre-selected beef cuts that can be bought in shares, from New York Strip shares, to single-animal burger shares, and even bone marrow shares. Selections range from $75 to $160 depending on the cut.
When a steer or heifer is fully funded, or "tips," Honest Beef Company purchases it directly from a humane rancher and coordinates the butchering and aging of the animal.
According to Raudsepp, the company's prices are 25% lower than the leading online beef retailers. "Honest Beef has eliminated over 60% of the conventional beef supply chain, meaning we can offer a top quality product with granular transparency, for a lower price. Additionally, because we have cut out the middle men, we are able to offer our ranchers more for their efforts."
Since its launch the start-up has sold 1,500 lbs of beef, and is in the process of crowdsourcing its third animal.