Q&A with Frontière Natural Meats Vice President Josh Viola
Intro and interview by Monica Parpal Stockbridge
While some of our customers and clientele may be familiar with our founders and teammates, in this blog we’d like to take a moment to introduce one of our founders, Josh Viola.
Longtime Coloradan Josh Viola oversees marketing and publicity for Frontière Natural Meats. Together, Josh, his dad, James, and his brother, Cody started the company in 2009. Alongside his work at Frontière Natural Meats, Josh is an award-winning fiction writer and artist. Fittingly, his most recent work is a children’s book called Boomer and Friends! all about a young bison looking for his herd as he travels the Colorado landscape.
We spoke with Josh to learn a little more about Frontière Natural Meats and what sets the company apart.
What should people know about Frontière Natural Meats, especially if this is the first time they’re hearing about the company?
It’s our business, so, obviously, it’s our baby. We care very much about it, and we — my dad, my brother and I — are all involved with all decisions that are made. Nothing goes on through here without our involvement. So, we’re very hands-on.
Our mission is to provide the best product out there. For us, that means high-quality products that have the proper certifications. In fact, we go above and beyond government requirements to make sure that we offer healthy products. On top of that, we really strive for great customer service. We realize that it’s important to our health as a company to make sure that we’re treating our customers right.
Colorado has a long history of ranching. Why was it important to you to work with local ranchers and source local product?
We are part of the Colorado Proud program for local businesses. I’m not a native, necessarily, but I’ve been here the majority of my life. So we want to give back to our community as much as we can, and we try to work as local products as often as we can. About 50% of our bison comes from local ranchers, and then the other 50% are from Midwest states. We also have quite a grasp on the national and international side of things as well.
Tell us more about the company’s international presence.
At our company, we have multiple brands, including Frontière Natural Meats, but also Platte Valley Food Group. That’s the brand that we use for the majority of our international sales. So quite a bit of product goes out to Europe, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, and a few other countries.
Why do you sell under other brand names?
With Frontière Natural Meats, the spelling for the company is French. That’s because my grandfather, who was an investor in the company, was French. Unfortunately, he passed away earlier this year. The different spelling is kind of like paying tribute to some extent.
Still, we decided to use a different name while selling overseas because American red meat — especially bison — is a big seller in European countries. So we decided to go with the name Platte Valley Food Group, inspired by all of us growing up near the Platte River Valley in Nebraska. It has a Midwestern American sort of sound that appeals to the European market.
Let’s talk more about bison. What should people know about bison if they’ve never cooked it before?
Bison is really popular right now. It tastes a little different than beef, but the benefit to the trend is that it’s actually healthier than beef. It has less fat, less cholesterol and more protein than beef. For me, the red meat I prefer is bison. For health conscious people, you’re not only going to get a better tasting product when you go with bison, but you can get the assurance that you’re doing your body a little favor. They’re giving your heart a break, and getting more protein. (Find a hand comparison chart here).
What else sets Frontière Natural Meats apart from the competition?
We are really diversified in the types of products that we offer. Plus, we do it all in-house. There are a lot of other companies out there that are doing the buying and selling, but then they’re going through a company like us to take the product and produce it for them.
We’re able to offer ground products, whole muscle cuts, cooked products, jerky, breakfast sausages, seasoned sausages and more. We have a very top of the line processing plant here. All of our animals are raised free-range and according to government standards. We work closely with the ranchers to ensure that the animals are taken care of. We also have a traceability program with our certification, so we can go all the way back to the birth of the animal and verify everything.
There’s a lot of reassurance there. We take a lot of pride in that. It’s about offering a good, wholesome, quality product.
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Frontière Natural Meats was founded on a few simple premises. Always be ethical. Always be accountable. Above all, always be dependable.
We know you have high standards. To make sure we meet them, we keep ours even higher.