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The unexpected reason why beef could get a lot cheaper

Bison meat is losing its reputation as an exotic beef alternative. After becoming nearly extinct in the early 1900s, America’s first national mammal has made a big comeback, thanks in part to the rediscovery of its lean and tasty meat.

Extremely nutrient dense, bison meat has become more popular in restaurants, grocery stores and butcher shops. But if you’re looking to purchase the meat, prepare to dig a little deeper into your pocket. At Whole Foods, ground bison costs $9.99 a pound, compared to $7.49 for 85% lean ground beef.

Since the White House named the bison the national mammal on May 9, there’s been speculation as to whether or not it will impact the price of the meat. Scott Shellady, a commodities trader for TJM Investments, told Yahoo Finance’s Seana Smith that he doesn’t expect an increase in demand for bison meat to have a huge impact on its price. Instead, he says it could affect the cost of beef.

“If you look at cattle (FCK16.CME) prices, it’s been a volatile year. We’re heading toward the lows of the year, so [if bison grows in popularity] it wouldn’t be good on top of an already difficult situation,” said Shellady.

And in terms of bison being traded as a commodity similar to cattle, Shellady doesn’t see it happening any time soon, saying, “I think we’re a long way off in terms of seeing something traded on an exchange as far as bison or buffalo goes.”

Despite being relatively new to the market, sales of bison meat in restaurants and retail stores top $340 million a year. And according to the National Bison Association, prices that ranchers receive have been pegged at all-time highs.

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The almost extinct bison is making a huge and tasty comeback