Lina and Hinrich founded their start-up EinStückLand in early 2017. Their mission: “We have set ourselves the tasks of taking a critical look at meat consumption patterns in Germany, encouraging people to reflect and rethink their opinions and, beyond that, offering an alternative to meat from the supermarket.” Via their online shop, they market high-quality meat from animals which were allowed to live their lives without factory farming. With their start-up they support smaller businesses, such as those of their breeders or local slaughterhouses. “The animals of our farmers grow up slowly. They defy any kind of weather and are fed with completely natural feedstuffs.” Thus, the meat is not artificially inflated with fattening feed. And this is something you can taste. The subsequent “dry aging” gives the meat its finishing touch, so to speak. The fact that this meat is a high-quality food is something customers will realize once the meat is in the frying pan as it does not lose any water during the searing process.
Hinrich’s parents have owned their own Galloways for 32 years now. Therefore, Hinrich has always been close to the action and began to develop a love for the animals. The civil engineer and Lina, a trained nurse, want to offer an alternative to people. “The conditions existing in meat production, people’s buying behaviour and the current status of the farmers should not be accepted without demur.” With their start-up they want to show that things can be done differently. The key is to reduce meat consumption. “Meat should be consumed as a side dish only”, they think. At present, the start-up offers primarily Galloway cattle. “Ultimately, any breed is worth considering. All that needs to be done is to ensure that the animals are kept appropriate to their needs. If this is not the case, we do not offer that particular breed.” It is important to Lina and Hinrich to use the animals to the fullest. They sell edible parts, such as the tongue and the cheeks, in their farm shop “Deine Speisekammer” (your pantry) whereas the intestines are sold to dog owners. In this way, no part of the valuable meat is wasted.
The consumption of sustainable foodstuffs is a matter of vital concern to the two founders. For Lina and Hinrich, the consumption of meat is among the things that must be changed by all means. “We slaughter once a week and offer two cows for sale. When we are out of stock, the sale will restart the following week.” At the core of EinStückLand’s approach are the boxes with fresh meat. Upon delivery, they rely with their trusted logistics company on Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Because: Especially on long distances you need a vehicle you can rely on, they explain. “In order to preserve our high meat quality, we pay a lot of attention to the welfare of the animal throughout its lifecycle, from breeding to slaughtering. Respect for and proximity to the animals play a significant role, as well as keeping them in a species-appropriate environment.” On our website, customers learn where each piece comes from and which special taste experience it provides. Good taste is the result of raising animals in a healthy and species-appropriate environment. This also includes asking yourself questions such as: “Where does the meat that we buy for a couple of Euros and put on the grill actually come from?”
In the villages, it used to be very common to distribute a slaughtered animal among all the villagers. Normally, each of them received one eighth of the cow. In other words, the principle of “cow-sharing” or “crowdbutching” has been in existence for decades. However, in keeping with the spirit of the age, the concept has now been given a modern name. EinStückLand relies on this long-proven method. The benefits are clear: Even before being slaughtered, the animal as a whole has been sold. Nothing is thrown away in the end and there is no overproduction.
The two founders first came up with the idea for their start-up at Christmas 2016. “My father asked us if we wanted to market Galloway cattle in Hamburg. His herd was becoming too big and there were not enough buyers”, Hinrich reports. That gave them food for thought. Both of them quickly realized: They did not want to devote all that effort to a one-off campaign. Therefore, they spontaneously asked other breeders if they had marketing problems as well. Their model for success? According to Lina and Hinrich, proper planning and motivation are the most important things when it comes to founding a company. “It was not our principal objective to become rich. This also means that you do not rip off your business partners or keep pressing them for the lowest prices.” The farmer and the butchers involved receive the most money from all the companies in the chain, followed by the founders themselves and their logistics specialist. “That was important to us from the outset.”
You have to stand fully behind your own idea and build up your business with a certain idealism.
Lina’s and Hinrich’s best tips for the successful foundation of a company:
Lina and Hinrich receive the eartag as well as information on the age, gender and pedigree of the animal from the farmer. Once the cattle has been marketed, it is taken to the butcher. It requires time to do a thing well: It takes at least two-and-a-half weeks until the meat is well hung. Then, the couple picks up the meat from the butcher and packs it. When it comes to the shipping carton, they also take care to live up to their sustainable philosophy. It consists of a straw insulation and cold packs filled with water. The meat packages are distributed throughout Germany via express delivery by their logistics partner with a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. In this way, the vacuumed meat arrives in a cooled state. The customers can freeze the meat straight away so that it will last him for several weeks. “Our customers mostly come from households with two to five people and include all age groups.
A lot of hard work was involved in what seemed well-designed from start to finish and sounded like a perfect business idea. One obstacle was the foundation of a GmbH (limited liability corporation) and the process of finding a name. Even worse: In the beginning, Lina and Hinrich were unable to find a butcher with whom they wanted to cooperate. “This could have resulted in the failure of the entire project.”
And what are the everyday challenges of a start-up? “You are always faced with new situations. Initially, there is neither regularity nor an established routine. This means you always have to be on your toes and mustn’t allow yourself to get stressed out. Besides, you have to be immune to the fact that for a while everybody will identify you exclusively with your start-up.”
Lina and Hinrich want to provide fresh ideas for the industry. “We want to reach all those who are tired of buying cheap meat and supporting giveaway prices.” They have committed themselves to fostering animal welfare. “The aim should be to establish more small-sized businesses rather than a few large ones.” It is planned to expand the product range: Soon there will be pork and poultry and the farm shop is due to be further expanded. Later, the product range on the internet will be widened and there is also supposed to be an online farm shop. Besides, EinStückLand will expand its business into different cities in Germany.