Southern style sizzle

The meat industry gathers in Atlanta for the 2014 Annual Meat Conference.

meatconfscreenshotFor the first time the Annual Meat Conference, which takes place February 16 – 18 in Atlanta, is featuring plant and farm tours as part of its programming. Attendees will have the option to learn about food safety processes and worker safety at Birchwood Foods ground beef processing plant; the production processes at Hormel Foods facility for products like pre-cooked bacon and canned and shelf-stable meals; or get a hands-on look at the production and handling processes on the chicken farms in Georgia, where more than 3,000 independent contract farmers produce an average of half a million broilers a year, say American Meat Institute (AMI) officials.

In addition to the tours, Jessica Mosely, director of education and professional development for AMI, co-sponsor of the conference along with the Food Marketing Institute, says education sessions will focus on three areas: leadership, consumer insights and industry trends.

During the popular “Power of Meat” session on the 18th, Midan Marketing principal, Michael Uetz, will present a preview of Midan’s newest research on today’s natural and organic meat shopper, and their attitudes and behaviors around natural and organic meat products. He will also be moderating a panel of industry experts during the session, discussing the biggest challenges and opportunities at the meat case.

Exhibitors use the conference as an opportunity to present new products, packaging and programs to retailers. Here is a closer look at some of them.

Agri Beef Co.
Although they will not be sampling product at the tasting reception, officials from Agri Beef Co. will be roaming the floor with news to share. The Boise, Idaho-based company has launched Seal Fresh, a line of case-ready retail products. Available under the Double R Ranch brand, the Seal Fresh line offers retailers and consumers easily accessible USDA-certified choice beef cuts, say officials.

“We are excited to make our products more readily available for our customers,” says Jay Theiler, executive director of marketing. “Our Seal Fresh line gives consumers easier access to premium beef products that are freezer-ready or can last in the refrigerator for days.”

Seal Fresh products are packaged in clear, no-leak, airtight packaging designed to ensure freshness for longer periods of time. Officials say bone-in products have a 21-day chilled shelf life while boneless can last up to 28 days. www.agribeef.com

Catelli Brothers
Catelli Brothers will be highlighting the versatility of its branded veal and lamb programs. Tony Catelli, president and CEO of the Collingswood, N.J.-based company, says the challenge for many retailers is that they do not have the manpower to keep veal and lamb properly stocked.

“Our products are a precut case-ready line that is easy to display at all times,” he says. “We can help create a case set that meets the needs of any stores’ specific demographics and price points. We like to show that changing the cuts they are selling in veal and lamb throughout the different seasons will help sales.”

On display will be a line of ground products, including Catelli’s meatloaf mix (a blend of beef, veal and pork) and ground veal and lamb, which Catelli says are affordable products with “tremendous versatility.” Sampling will include veal meatballs and carved butterflied lamb legs. www.catellibrothers.com

buddigCarl Buddig & Co.
Carl Buddig and Co. will be highlighting its recently launched Premium Deli product line. Premium Deli includes Honey Smoked Ham, Smoked Ham, Black Forest Ham, Oven-Roasted Turkey and Rotisserie Flavored Chicken varieties, available in 8-ounce resealable packages.

“The meat conference is a great venue to showcase the company’s capabilities, new products and for interacting with the retailers we serve and the industry that we’re passionate about,” says Robert Gay, marketing director.

The Homewood, Ill.-based company is also a sponsor of the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks and will share some of the creative that is currently in market for the 2013-14 NHL season. www.buddig.com

Land O’Frost
With the expectation of continued demand for healthier, more affordable and better tasting products in 2014, Land O’Frost is debuting Simply Delicious.

Officials at the Lansing, Ill.-based company say Simply Delicious is designed to satisfy those customers seeking healthier options. It is available this month in select markets and features six varieties of premium, 97% to 98% fat-free lunchmeat. “Most notably, Simply Delicious will be one of a select few lunchmeats to be certified by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy food,” says Keith Hill, director of brand management.

Simply Delicious, as well as the entire family of Land O’Frost brands, including the company’s signature Premium brand, will be supported this year by aggressive marketing programs and compelling consumer promotions designed to create shopper awareness in and out-of-store. Attendees can sample the entire Land O’Frost product line and learn more about the company’s programs for 2014. www.landofrost.com

rosenproductMountain States Rosen
Mountain States Rosen (MSR) is a U.S. producer-owned and operated, vertically integrated lamb and veal company. “Our producer families are multi-generation ranchers who take pride in both the quality of their product as well as stewardship of their land,” says Chris Sutliff, national sales account manager. Food safety is also held in high regard as Bronx, N.Y.-based MSR has reached Level III Certification from the Safe Quality Food Institute in both its production facilities.

“Combine our stringent quality assurance practices along with a regular schedule of third-party audits, and Mountain States Rosen strives to be the industry leader in all aspects of product quality and food safety,” says Sutliff. “MSR is also a Certified Angus Beef approved processor, offering state-of-the-art case-ready packaging technologies and multi-protein services.”

Along with a variety of retail and food service products many of MSR’s packaging options will be at the show. www.mountainstatesrosen.com

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. Several Beef Checkoff staffers will be on hand to connect and engage with retailers.

“We work with many of these retailers as a resource for beef information, education and merchandising programs,” says Cheryl Hendricks, RD, strategic account management and program execution at the Centennial, Colo.-based NCBA.

In addition to participating in the tasting, the Beef Checkoff participates on the Conference Planning Committee and will be sponsoring a breakout session “Crisis & Consumer Communication” on Monday, Feb. 17th from 1:30-2:30pm. www.beefretail.org

National Pork Board
The National Pork Board (NPB) continues to disseminate the message that pork is a good value. Officials for the Des Moines, Iowa-based organization are encouraging retailers to feature pork through the spring and summer months, offering consumers savings.

The NPB also continues to promote the common names for pork and beef with the revamp of URMIS. Officials say this initiative has been a breakthrough for the entire meat industry, especially as consumers are now able to better understand the pork cuts available in the meat case and how to prepare them.

“Retailers are now able to use beef nomenclature for several key cuts from the pork loin,” says Patrick Fleming, director of retail marketing. ”Names like Porterhouse Chop, Ribeye Chop, T-Bone Chop and New York Chop are easily recognizable by consumers, while allowing retailers to drive value from one end of the pork loin to the other.” www.porkretail.org

Perdue Foods
A complete and comprehensive family of brands allows Perdue Foods to present retailers with a single source to supply products to consumers, say company officials. So what will the Salisbury, Md.-based company be highlighting? “You may as well ask, ‘what aren’t we highlighting this year?’” says Andrew Urban, senior vice president of retail sales.

Corporate chef Chris Moyer will be serving products from the Simply Smart line, as well as Traditional Pork and Spicy Espresso Bratwurst from Dogfish Head Brewery’s Han’s All Natural line, which is a division of Coleman Natural.

Perdue wants to offer more than just products, however. “We are consumer and retailer focused. The first thing I hope retailers notice is our willingness to work with them,” says Urban. For the retailer specifically, Perdue creates innovations designed to enhance product sets throughout the store. They also provide retailers with business-building information on category trends, customer loyalty and shopper insights. www.perdueretailtrade.com

Sealed Air
Sealed Air’s Cryovac food packaging brand is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of its Cryovac Cook-in-Bag product line. Part of the celebration included significant upgrades to the package’s design and functionality, most notably the capability to cook at higher temperatures. Officials for the Duncan, S.C.-based company say that as a result, processors and foodservice operators can leverage the bag to store, cook and serve a wider range of protein products, reducing cycle times and contamination risks.

The Cryovac Cook-in-Bags will feature the brand’s trademark Grip & Tear easy-open technology, which officials say introduces new levels of convenience and safety.

“For three decades, our Cryovac branded cook-in bags have set the standard for production efficiency, yield, product quality, food safety and shelf life,” says Karl Deily, president of Sealed Air’s Food Care division and marketing manager in charge of the products’ original market rollout. “The enhancements demonstrate our intention to continue listening to the needs of our customers and providing them with products that positively impact their bottom line.” www.cryovac.com

Tyson Fresh Meats
During Monday’s Product Tasting Reception, Tyson Fresh Meats will be sampling its new Backyard Flavors brand Beef Skirt Steak with Smokey Chili Sauce, a pre-seasoned and marinated beef product that is smothered in savory smokey chili sauce and vacuum-sealed in leak-proof packaging for maximum freshness.

The Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based company will also be sampling Tyson Dry Rub Pork Sparerib Mini Racks in a Smokehouse flavor. Kent Harrison, vice president, marketing and premium programs, says these pre-seasoned, portioned ribs offer consumers bold, emerging flavor trends, and are an easy meal option with short cook times and minimal preparation. www.tysonfreshmeats.com

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