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One of the things that differentiates Jennie-O from the competition,
Gerde says, is its mission to make products that combine great taste
"We know that consumers are more conscious than ever about the food
they consume and feed to their families, and products with quality
ingredients are a huge part of that," Gerde says.
To that end, Jennie-O is constantly innovating to add healthier fare to
its product roster. The brand's Premium Seasoned Turkey Breasts line,
for instance, has three new flavors packed under its All Natural banner:
Sweet Thai Chili, Chili Pepper and Apple Cider Cinnamon. "Each offers
a unique flavor experience and premium quality, without cures or
preservatives," Gerde says.
At this year's IDDBA show, Gerde expects flavor evolution and fresh
meal ideas to be among the hot topics among purveyors of high-quality
"As more consumers seek out the deli for restaurant-style solutions,
retailers are looking for turn-key products that deliver on flavor and
quality," he says. "In addition, consumers continue to evolve on their
flavor preferences and are looking for options that branch outside
of fried foods and other standard offerings that are perceived as
unhealthy or boring."
To stay on top of those trends, Jennie-O is more focused than ever on
innovation, Gerde says - whether it's consumer- or retailer-driven. "We've
done extensive work around flavor, and we'll be highlighting many of
these items at this year's show," he says. "We've also seen how deli operations are changing, and it's inspired us to make products that make life
easier for operators. The deli today is much broader than just sliced meat,
and we have the solutions to help our retailer partners succeed."
In 2018, deli is just one department benefiting from new products
from Jennie-O. Uncured Turkey Breast Franks, turkey bacon and
taco-seasoned turkey sausage were among the 17 new on-trend turkey
products unveiled in March.
"When it comes to meal time, Americans want it all: their favorite
dishes, but with less fat, calories, artificial ingredients or preservatives,"
says Brent Koosman, Jennie-O's director of marketing. "Fortunately,
Jennie-O is in a unique position to meet the needs of today's families
and health-conscious consumers."
The new Jennie-O deli products are just a small piece of parent
company Hormel's recent push in deli. In February, the company
announced it had created a new executive position focused exclusively on the company's deli products.
Jeff Baker is the company's firstever group vice president for deli.
Baker had previously been group
vice president for foodservice.
In the new role, Baker oversees
all of Hormel's deli brands,
which include Hormel, Jennie-O,
Applegate, DiLusso, Hormel
Gatherings and the recently
purchased Columbus Craft Meats.
"The deli space is an on-trend and
growing category for today's retailer. In
addition to behind-the-glass and grab-and-go
deli offerings, we have seen a shift toward more foodservice offerings
with growth in prepared foods and in-store restaurants," says Jim Snee,
Hormel's chairman of the board, president and CEO.
Two other Hormel foodservice managers were promoted along with
Baker. Mark Ourada is now group vice president for foodservice, and
David Weber is vice president of foodservice sales.
Butterball expands Walmart offerings,
introduces new flavors
In April, Garner, North Carolina-based Butterball expanded its distribution at Walmart stores, giving the company first-ever national distribution, says Michelle Lieszkovszky, Butterball's deli brand manager. IN
addition, Butterball is rolling out a new portfolio of premium flavored
deli meats to complement its Thanksgiving Roasted product. The new
flavors include Cajun, Cracked Pepper, Deep Fried and Buffalo Chicken.
Butterball's deli slicing category includes turkey breast, chicken breast,
turkey ham and turkey pastrami. Lieszkovszky says all of the company's deli turkey breast flavors are made with no nitrates or nitrites.
Traditionally, she says, it's industry standard to have a cure in smoked
and mesquite deli meats, in which nitrates and nitrites to the ingredients.
"We've developed them with our consumer preferences top of mind,
especially as the demand for clean labels grows."
Butterball is America's favorite turkey brand, and as a result, its profile
is highest at the holidays. But Lieszkovszky points out that consumers
can get the same whole-bird, quality flavor year-round in delis across
the country with the company's Premium Thanksgiving Roasted Deli
turkey breast, made from whole turkey breast, browned in oil and
following a signature recipe. "The Thanksgiving flavor is a pinnacle
item that only the Butterball brand offers," she says.
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