Meat and greet

The 2011 Meat Conference is packed with new products and innovations ready to fly off retailers’ shelves.

By Elizabeth Louise Hatt

As 2011 gets underway, the meat and poultry industry is facing some steep challenges, including an evolving consumer base and compliance with the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act and the USDA’s recently enacted labeling requirements for meat and poultry products for 2012.

To address these and other issues, seminars and workshops at this month’s Annual Meat Conference in Dallas will cover a variety of topics, including The Economy and Its Impact on Your Business, Ensuring Food Safety and a Regulatory Update. Along with a product tasting reception, technology fair and an exhibition hall full of the latest flavors, retailers will be busy.

Here is what some of the major players will be showcasing:

Agri Beef Co.
Founded in 1968 as a ranch and cattle feed operation, family-owned Agri Beef Co. has developed a unique supply chain that benefits retailers and meets customer demands. The Boise, Idaho-based company recently expanded its value-added product offerings with Quick Chef ready-to-cook beef, fresh hamburger cylinder pack chubs and premium corned beef from its Double R Ranch brand and Artesian Kurobuta pork sausages and Kurobuta Gourmet Bacon from its Snake River Farms brand. Agri Beef Co. also introduced the brand Rancho El Oro, a line of fresh beef targeted to Hispanic consumers.

Company officials anticipate that shoppers will continue to look to their grocery store for high-quality beef as a substitute for restaurant meals. “The one key thing we learned over the years is that quality and value never go out of style,” says Jay Theiler, executive director of marketing.

For more information, visit

Beef Information Centre
The Beef Information Centre’s (BIC) High River Angus program, launched in conjunction with the Colorado Boxed Beef Co. (CBBC), has continues to grow in distribution. “Retailers are impressed with the product, the quality of the meat and the fact that it is traceable to Canada also works with COOL regulations,” says John Saterbo, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Auburndale, Fla.-based CBBC. The Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based BIC is currently working with other U.S. retailers and distributors to develop programs.

Looking forward, Marty Carpenter, BIC’s director of U.S. marketing, predicts continued growth in the area of convenience products. “Consumers are pushed for time and are looking for meal solutions,” he says.

For more information, visit

Carl Buddig & Co.
Family-owned and operated for almost 70 years, Carl Buddig & Co. is expanding its lunch meat products with four new flavors and adding two sizes—3- and 4-ounce packages—to its Deli Cuts line. Additionally, the Homewood, Ill.-based company’s Old Wisconsin Sausage brand is giving its range of sausages, snack bites and snack sticks a facelift with updated graphics.

“We are proud to support our sales with local and national promotional and marketing support with on-pack promotions and FSIs,” says Bob Buddig, CEO. “Most recently we supported Reading is Fundamental (RIF), which is a great national cause for literacy.”

For more information, visit or

Certified Angus Beef
Building on 30 years of innovation, Certified Angus Beef (CAB) continues to work towards improving it’s products, according to company officials. The Wooster, Ohio-based company is currently working with retailers to evaluate packaging that would lengthen shelf-life and reduce shrink. “We are looking at packaging that could help retailers introduce new cuts, which initially require small quantities,” says David MacVane, director of business development, Eastern division.

For more information, visit

Certified Hereford Beef
Certified Hereford Beef (CHB), a subsidiary of the American Hereford Association, is celebrating its latest addition to the Hereford brand, Nuestro Rancho, a fresh beef program targeted to the growing Hispanic demographic. The new segment joins Kansas City, Mo.-based CHB’s full line of beef products, including branded fresh beef, ground beef chub, retail hamburger patties, value-added deli meat items and a host of Hispanic- driven seasoned and marinated products.

“Nuestro Rancho is the fastest growing segment of the CHB line,” says Craig P. Huffhines, executive vice president.

For more information, visit

Cloverdale Foods
A line of fully cooked ribs and rotisserie-style chicken is joining Mandan, N.D.-based Cloverdale Food’s extensive array of bacon, ham, sausage, franks and rib products. Russell’s Reserve Ribs come in St. Louis Style Spare Rib and Baby Back varieties, and are packaged with a separate sauce packet. Russell’s Reserve Rotisserie-Style Chicken is a restaurant quality chicken ready for numerous meal applications. “The Russell’s Reserve line is a convenient flavorful meal option,” says Todd Russell, senior director of retail sales. Retailers can also expect to see new smoked sausage flavors this spring.

This past year, Cloverdale expanded its operations into the Southwest with its Tangy Summer Sausage and thin-sliced bacon. “We have a strong base of consumers from the Midwest that relocated to the Southwest,” says Russell.

For more information, visit

Cook’s Ham
Cook’s Ham gained national distribution quickly after its 1983 introduction. Today, the Kansas City, Mo.-based company operates several production facilities across the country offering a variety of bone-in and boneless ham products.

Over the past year, Cook’s introduced Quartered Traditional Bone-in Hams, Quartered and Half Spiral Sliced Bone-in Hams infused with maple and Pre-glazed Bone-in Ham Steaks. The ham steaks are available in three different glazes. “Cook’s continues to develop new styles and sizes of Bone-in and Boneless Hams that offer consumers convenience, smaller unit sizes and new taste experiences,” says Jon Lewallen, director of marketing.

For more information, visit

Creekstone Farms
Officials at Creekstone Farms Premium Beef say they are dedicating 2011 to growing consumer brand recognition. The Arkansas City, Kan.-based company is investing heavily in marketing, advertising and its partnerships with its retail and wholesale customers.

With its roots in Black Angus genetic development, Creekstone Farms’ offerings are comprised of both conventional and natural fresh-boxed beef programs, and a complete line of ground beef products such as retail boxed IQF patties and course and fine grind chubs.

“Creekstone Farms averages 75% USDA Choice grade and 12% USDA Prime grade,” says Jim Rogers, vice president of marketing.

For more information, visit

Gold’n Plump Poultry
Beginning in 1926 as a seasonal hatchery selling day-old chicks to Minnesota farmers, Gold’n Plump Poultry has grown into a fully-integrated chicken producer providing chicken products to retail, deli and foodservice customers across the country.

Most recently, the St. Cloud, Minn.-based family-run company introduced six ground chicken line extensions. Sized in 16-ounce packages, the new offerings include two spaghetti-ground tray products for the fresh meat case and two value-priced chubs for both the fresh and frozen meat cases. The tray-packs are available in a regular (90/10) and lean (95/5) fat-to-lean variety and the chub is available in regular (90/10) and lean (93/7).

For more information, visit

Hormel Foods Corp.
Hormel Foods Corp., based in Austin, Minn., is a multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer-branded food and meat products. The company leverages its extensive expertise, innovation and high competencies in pork and turkey processing and marketing to bring branded, value-added products to the global marketplace.

The company is a member of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, Maplecroft Climate Innovation Indexes, Global 1000 Sustainable Performance Leaders and was named one of “The 100 Most Trustworthy Companies” by Forbes in 2010. The company enjoys a strong reputation among consumers, retail grocers, foodservice and industrial customers for products highly regarded for quality, taste, nutrition, convenience and value.

For more information, visit

Over the past year, JBS USA has responded to an increased consumer demand for larger, conveniently packaged portions by dramatically increasing the number of single, vacuum-packaged items in its fresh pork and beef lines, say company officials. Currently, the Greeley, Colo.-based company is expanding its Angus programs under the 1855 Premium and Swift brand, as well as its Natural Guaranteed Tender pork line.

JBS will be highlighting its USDA-certified Angus beef programs and consumer-ready flanks, brisket flats, skirts and flat irons at the show.

For more information, visit

Johnsonville Sausage
Adding to its wide array of offerings, Sheboygan Falls, Wis.-based Johnsonville Sausage, has a new design and new products coming in 2011. Beginning this month, Johnsonville products will be sporting redesigned labels and trays as well as new product photography to drive appetite appeal. “The new packaging will highlight key product benefits that motivate consumer purchases, like unique spice blends,” says Jim Mueller, group marketing manager.

Following the redesign this spring, a line of chicken sausages will hit the market available in three varieties—Chipotle Monterey Jack Cheese, Three Cheese Italian Style and Apple.

For more information, visit

Land O’Frost
Land O’Frost is kicking off 2011 with a change in leadership at the 52-year-old company. David Van Eekeren was promoted to CEO and president and is the third generation to lead the family business. Under his leadership, the Lansing, Ill.-based company will continue to focus on product development. Currently in test marketing is Land O’Frost’s new line, Wrap Kits, a complete sandwich wrap kit with meats, cheese and tortillas, available with Black Forest Ham and Swiss or Oven Roasted Turkey with Pepper Jack cheese.

“Excellent results in 2010 proved we are reaching new consumers and providing incremental growth for our retail customers,” said Van Eekeren. “In a category that only grew 1.8% for the year, it speaks volumes that our brand set a new bar with gains of more than 20%.”

For more information, visit

National Beef
Retailers can check out National Beef’s new Retail Ready product line and Case Ready program at the conference. The Retail Ready product line is made up 13 specialty items, including Flat Iron Steak, Brisket Flat, Flank Steak & Sirloin Tri-Tip, in vacuum-sealed package with a shelf-life of 30 days.

Case Ready is a packaging program that can be customized to meet retailers’ needs, according to company officials.

“Retail Ready and Case Ready programs are unique solutions for retailers to expand their product mix, present new items and reduce cost in a effective manner,” Keith Welty, vice president of marketing for the Kansas City, Mo.-based beef processing company.

For more information, visit

National Pork Board
The Des Moines, Iowa-based National Pork Board is launching a brand campaign in support the marketing group’s five-year goals. This comes after a positive year of growth for the industry.

According to Patrick Fleming, director of retail marketing, pork ribs sales grew 4.6% in dollar sales for the 52-week period ended Nov. 21, and sales of boneless pork chops increased by 2.1%. New marinades and seasoning products as well as the introduction of hand-rubbed spice for half loins, tenderloins and other cuts complemented this growth.

The Pork Board is also anticipating the USDA’s nutrition labeling requirements.

For more information, visit

Organic Prairie
Founded in 1996, the La Farge, Wis.-based division of Organic Valley continues to be a pioneer of certified organic meat products. Organic Prairie’s latest additions, to be debuted at the conference, include an all-beef summer sausage and a boneless skinless fresh frozen chicken breast. “We received a lot of inquiries about summer sausage because it goes well with Organic Valley’s cheese offerings,” says Pete Bassett, national sales and marketing manager.

To maintain its high organic standards, Organic Prairie grows all its own livestock. “With all the food scares lately, people are beginning to look at companies to see where their food comes from,” says Bassett. “All our products are clean and healthy, and people can see that.”

For more information, visit

Sanderson Farms
Officials at Laurel, Miss.-based Sanderson Farms pride themselves on adhering to the hometown values the company was founded on more than 60 years ago. The company kicked off 2011 by opening a new processing plant—a tray-pack facility—in Kinston, N.C. that will process up to 1,250,000 chickens per week, packaged for retail sale.

“We were in position for growth and we wanted to gain better access to market share in that part of the country,” says Hilary Burroughs, manager of marketing services. She says Sanderson Farms offers only 100% natural chickens.

For more information, visit

Tyson Fresh Meats
Tyson Fresh Meats, the Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based subsidiary of Tyson Foods, is continuing to grow its ibp – Specialty Cut Meats business with its latest brand, Backyard Flavors. Launched at the conference, Backyard Flavors first products are three flavors of tri tips that are produced at the company’s Emporia, Kan. processing plant. “The best part about this new business model in Emporia is the versatility and flexibility we have in our production processes,” says Kent Harrison, vice president of marketing and value creation.

For more information, visit

West Liberty Foods
Officials at West Liberty Foods (WLF), based in in West Liberty, Iowa, say food safety is a priority. The manufacturer recently received a patent on an innovative clean room food processing system. The facilities includes a number of separate processing rooms, each with its own air handling systems, drain systems and supplies, to reduce the risk of contamination.

The private label manufacturer also partnered with a retailer to develop and introduce a peel and reseal packaging technology to the marketplace.  “This will be a big year for private label products,” says Michael Quint, vice president and CCO for West Liberty.

For more information, visit

This entry was posted in 2011 02 Article Archives, Focus on Fresh. Bookmark the permalink.