Meating up in Music City

Stocked with innovative marketing and merchandising ideas, new products and sampling galore, AMI’s Annual Meat Conference promises something for everyone. 

Mother Nature certainly has not been kind to the meat industry.

The much talked about drought has either driven up or will shortly drive up prices for most proteins. Despite this, most industry observers remain optimistic on the category’s immediate future. With that optimism in hand, the meat industry gathers in Nashville for the AMI’s Annual Meat Conference, February 24-26.

Grocery Headquarters provides some insights as to what conference-goers can expect to encounter.

Officials at Butterball say they know cooks are looking for better-for-you meal ideas. With that in mind, the Garner, N.C.-based company continues to innovate and improve its turkey offerings and recipes to provide more family-friendly options, including low sodium choices. The company’s latest introductions include a Sweet Onion Turkey Burger flavor, Recipe Starters Turkey Dinner Sausage in two new flavors—Wisconsin Cheddar and Hot and Spicy Red Pepper—as well as three flavors of Artisan Seasoned Turkey Breast deli meats: Maple Honey, Smoky Chipotle and Herb Roasted.

Cargill Meat Solutions
Cargill Meat Solutions will be showing an array of its pork offerings from a number of its brands. Under the Sterling Silver line will be Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin and Pre-Cooked Rib, while the Good Nature line will feature a 1/2 Cut Boneless Loin and Baby Back Ribs. Neckbones, Split Front Feet and Ham Shank will be featured under the Rumba line and Brisket, Pork Loin Filet and 1/2 Cut Bone-In Ham under the Tender Choice line.

Additionally, officials from the Wichita, Kan.-based company can discuss how the Wichita Cargill Innovation Center works closely with customers to develop new and improved menu items, meat case offerings, packaging and processing technologies, as well as on projects related to food safety, nutrition, meat quality and food handling and preparation.

Carl Buddig & Co.
The Carl Buddig & Co. booth will display core Buddig luncheon meats and Old Wisconsin Summer Sausages and Meat Snacks. According to Robert Gay, marketing director for the Homewood, Ill.-based company, these lines continue to be the major part of the company’s product mix in 2013.

He says the company is also excited about the new snacking products that are being developed for Buddig and Old Wisconsin that are designed to fit with consumers busier lifestyles, health conscious goals and on-the-go eating habits.

“The new products will help strengthen the brands’ position and enable it to develop products to meet consumers’ demands as snacking continues to gain a greater share of consumers eating occasions,” says Gay, citing that according to the NPD group more than half of consumers are snacking more than once a day—especially children. “Additionally, the Old Wisconsin brand continues to gain market share with its line of great-tasting turkey bites, sticks and summer sausage and we expect to showcase a lot of our new and existing products during the show.”

Catelli Brothers
With a full line of branded, case-ready veal and lamb products, Catelli Brothers is ready to make its pitch to retailers at AMI. The message Tony Catelli, president and CEO of the Collingswood, N.J.-based company, wants to deliver is clear: “Let our company manage the [veal/lamb] category.”

He says most consumers eating veal and lamb generally have a higher income and are used to buying brands and are more comfortable with the quality brands provide. “We try to customize our programs to meet each retailer’s specific needs. So if there are different stores with different demographics we try to have a planogram and put the proper products in the case that will move in a particular store.”     

Certified Angus Beef
Right off the bat, retailers will be introduced to Certified Angus Beef (CAB) as its rib strip and top sirloin will be served at the Welcome Reception. Following that, at the Product Tasting Reception, retailers can sample fresh marinated, frozen and fully cooked items brought to the table with processor Golden West Food Group. Officials for the Wooster, Ohio-based company say CAB’s selection of traditional, Prime and Natural products offer a top-end solutions for retail customers.

As for the show itself, officials say AMI is a great avenue for visiting with retailers and helping them satisfy consumer demand for high-quality meats and meeting retailer needs. “Our retail specialists are equally versed in merchandising and marketing solutions, providing retailers with a valued consultant for driving sales and differentiating their businesses,” says Tara Adams, assistant director, marketing.

Land O’Frost
Land O’Frost is leveraging growth of its Premium brand with the launch of Premium Mini’s in February. Keith Hill, director of brand management for the Lansing, Mich.-based company says the economic climate has driven growth of in-home entertainment and parents’ need for convenient products as they struggle with their children’s busy schedule and that Mini’s satisfies this need. “Almost 90% of consumers told us they would use Mini’s as a snack with crackers and over half would use them on party trays,” says Hill.

Premium Mini’s are available in 10-ounce resealable packages, in Hickory Smoked Ham, Honey Ham, Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast and Honey Smoked Turkey Breast.

National Beef
National Beef will be highlighting three of its initiatives at AMI; the IMPACT, Retail Ready and the Ground Beef programs. According to Keith Welty, vice president of marketing for the Kansas City, Mo.-based company, the IMPACT program was developed to compliment changing consumer trends and to help drive trial at retailer meat cases. He says the program identifies innovative beef cuts that match changing consumer preferences, providing retailers the opportunity to increase sales and profits by adapting to these trends.

With three new cuts available in the Retail Ready program designed to carry retailers through the winter season, and value-oriented steak cuts for the rest of the year, retailers have the opportunity to expand their beef products while adding value to the meat case, adds Welty.

Within the Ground Beef program National Beef now offers a ground beef brick product line with extensive program offerings to meet retailer needs. “The Ground Beef program from National Beef provides confidence and ease in your ground beef purchasing. Delivering safer, high quality ground beef in a wide variety of products and box sizes,” says Welty.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), contractor for the Beef Checkoff Program, will showcase several fresh beef cuts. The Beef Checkoff team will be on hand to reveal new beef value cuts and convenient packaging options that address consumer purchasing trends. Jim Ethridge, executive director, account development, for Centennial, Colo.-based NCBA, says booth visitors can learn several strategies for offering consumers great tasting steaks and roasts at a moderate price while helping meat processors, manufacturers and retailers improve overall profitability.

In addition to showing a breakdown of the beef chuck roll, the Beef Checkoff will highlight programs proven to drive beef sales that also target specific customer demographics.   

Pilgrim’s uses the show as an environment to showcase its capabilities, new products and commitment to its customers. The Greeley, Colo.-based company produces fresh and prepared chicken from family-owned farms across the country.

“The show is also an excellent learning environment,” says David Quinn, director of corporate marketing. “This setting provides the backdrop for us to interact with the customers we serve and the industry we are passionate about.”

Sanderson Farms
Started as a family business in 1947, Sanderson Farms has become one of the nations leading food corporations, say company officials. Today the Laurel, Miss.-based company produces nearly 10 million chickens per week from its plants in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.

“Combined with our company-owned feed mills and hatcheries, we are well positioned to keep up with the growing demand for our products,” says Hilary Burroughs, manager of marketing services. “For 65 years our brand name has stood for the finest chicken on the market, backed by an unrelenting focus on superior product quality.”

According to Burroughs, Sanderson intends to display a new package design at AMI in a sample meat case.

Tyson Fresh Meats
Tyson Fresh Meats will be sampling its new Tyson Pork Shoulder for Carnitas at the Product Tasting Reception on Monday. Tyson’s Pork Shoulder for Carnitas is a lean, pre-seasoned pork product packaged in a ready-to-go, cook-in bag; consumers’ need to simply place the cook-in bag in a slow cooker or regular oven. Officials for the Dakota Dunes, N.D.–based company say Pork Carnitas can help solve the dinner dilemma for consumers by offering juicy, flavorful pork that is effortless to prepare and simple to clean up.

What’s in a name

Based on extensive research conducted by the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff, today’s consumers are as confused as ever when it comes to purchasing fresh meat. They are not familiar with all the various cuts available in the case or how to prepare them, and often rely on only a handful of staple cuts they are most familiar with and comfortable preparing.

At the 2013 Annual Meat Conference, The National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff will present solutions to simplify fresh meat nomenclature and help clear up consumer confusion in two educational workshops. The first session will cover new qualitative and quantitative consumer research that identified key consumer issues with meat cuts and set the stage for the development of a more simplified, consumer-friendly URMIS (Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards) nomenclature. New cutting edge in-store and in-lab eye tracking research results will provide insights into what draws consumers’ attention and provides assistance at the meat case and helps generate sales. Online research results will provide insights into effective message development. The second session will provide an overview of the new URMIS nomenclature and provide educational information and tools for putting it to use in retail meat cases. and

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