EPIC Founders Are Changing the Meat Industry One Protein Bar at a Time

By: Shaun Dreisbach, Nutrition & Features Editor  |  EatingWell 2018 American Food Heoes

Katie Forrest & Taylor Collins are championing regenerative agriculture and the nose-to-tail movement in an epic way.

The inspiration for Epic Provisions (think: high-end meat snacks like bison bars and wagyu beef strips) came out of personal necessity. As triathletes and general body-limit-pushers, husband and wife duo Katie Forrest and Taylor Collins needed good workout fuel. Health issues necessitated that Forrest avoid most carbs—the traditional endurance-exercise go-to—and amp up her protein intake. But there was a problem: They couldn't find a portable, high-quality snack they liked. "At first, we would cook up pounds of bacon at a time, put them in Ziploc bags and take them on long training rides," says Forrest. "Then we were like, let's just make this into bar form." They began experimenting in their kitchen using different cuts of meat and curing methods. Epic was born.

Related: 2018 EatingWell American Food Heroes

EPIC

But it's how the meat in Epic's products is sourced that makes them special. Since day one, Forrest and Collins have chosen farmers and ranchers who raise their animals using regenerative agriculture practices—a better, more environmentally friendly version of grass-fed that both promotes the welfare of the cow, pig or bison and improves the land it feeds on. They also play an active role helping farmers make the switch to regenerative. Further deepening their commitment to responsible sourcing, the duo recently introduced the Whole Animal Project, which pledges to use nearly 100 percent of the animal, nose to tail. To do that, they expanded their product line to include pork rinds, bone broths, organ meat snacks and cooking oils. "It's really a way to honor these amazing animals that have sacrificed their lives to feed us," says Collins. "We're always trying to increase the standards by which they're raised. Being able to shake the farmer's hand and say, 'If you convert to regenerative practices, we'll commit to buying the entire animal, not just limited cuts,' is good incentive for them to adopt a better agricultural system." Sustainable pork rinds? Sign us up.

3 Cool Facts About Katie and Taylor

Allan Savory is their food hero. "He is a renegade ecologist who teaches ranchers how to mimic nature in their livestock-management plan. Allan is proving that when livestock is managed appropriately it can create a net-positive return on the planet!"

Go-to post-workout snack (that doesn't involve a pound of bacon): "Duck eggs!" (They heart their smooth, creamy yolks.)

If they could have dinner anywhere in the world, it would be… "Southern Patagonia, the home of endless barbecued lamb and beef sweetbreads."