Partnering can offer distinct advantages to those parties that enjoy both name recognition and respect. Such is the case with Lansing, Ill-based Land O’Frost Inc.’s national partnership with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Blimpie to offer the new Land O’Frost Blimpie’s Best Sub Sandwich Kit. Product began rolling out in March.

Land O’Frost manufactures sliced packaged luncheon meats (beef, chicken, turkey, and ham) and is the largest family owned brand of packaged deli meat in the US. Blimpie is a leading sub-shop chain in the US.

The new Land O’Frost Blimpie’s Best Sub Sandwich Kit contains four meats used in Blimpie’s popular Blimpie Best sandwich – prosciutto cotto ham, smoked ham, capicola ham and salami. Each kit makes six sub sandwiches. This entry marks the fourth addition to Land O’Frost’s Sub Sandwich Kit line. The 18-oz. kit contains 48 slices of meat. Suggested retail price varies by region.

“We were approached by a third party to evaluate the opportunity,” says Keith Hill, Land O’Frost’s newly promoted director of brand management, when asked how this partnership was forged.

The packaging for this new line is as exciting as the products inside. Bill Marion, Land O’Frost’s vice president of manufacturing, explains the meat is thin-sliced in a shingle format and placed on interleaf paper for ease of handling. The interleaved shingles of meat are stacked separately in the package by flavor to allow the consumer to utilize the four flavors on the sandwich in any combination.

“Because of the interleaved presentation, each portion of product can be conveniently laid out on a six-inch sub roll,” Marion adds. The six sandwich packages are sealed in modified atmosphere packaging with a double-zip feature for maximum shelf-life and recloseable convenience.

This is the fourth addition to the company’s Sub Sandwich Kit line. The original Sub Kit offerings include a Honey Ham and Honey White Turkey combination, an Italian Style Sub containing Cotto Salami, Bologna and Smoked Ham and a Smoked Ham and Oven Roasted White Turkey combination.

“The packaging components of each offer the same convenience features we have included in the Blimpie’s Best. The original Sub Kits make 10, six-inch sandwiches,” Marion says.

The company’s inaugural Sub Kit was launched 2009. “It was developed to meet the needs of our consumers for versatile convenient kits that would allow home users to replicate the restaurant Sub Sandwich experience in their own homes using Land O’Frost ‘Great Tasting Lunchmeats’,” Marion says.

Innovative Wrap Kits

The company also offers Wrap Kits, which take the Sub Kit concept one step further, providing the components for five complete wraps in a single package, he adds. The Sub Kits are manufactured in Land O’Frost’s Searcy, Ark., facility while the Wrap Kits are made at the company’s Lansing, Ill., plant.

Wrap Kit packaging includes five interleaved portions of meat in a recloseable package, five slices of cheese in a sealed package and five tortillas, also in their own sealed package. “The three inner packages are then placed in our familiar double-zipper, recloseable package to allow the consumer to maintain maximum freshness – whether she makes all five wraps to feed the family in one sitting or whether she makes them one at a time over a period of several days,” Marion says.

Launched in the fall of 2010, Marion says the Wrap Kit concept was developed by the Land O’Frost Product Innovation Team as another step toward providing more convenience and versatility for its valued partners in retail plus its end consumers.

The number of servings varies by product. All of the original Sub Kits feature 10 servings, the Blimpie Sub Kit offers six and the Wrap Kits five.

Lines in the plants running these products were designed and laid out specifically for these applications. “They are complex lines that are state-of-the-art from both a production and food-safety perspective,” Marion says. “Because of the different formats, meat components and slice counts across the line, production rates vary slightly.”

Plans to further automate these lines to allow greater throughput are being evaluated.

All packaging graphics strive to provide a consumer-friendly communication environment, Hill says. “We start with a focus on the finished product, which our consumers can provide their family,” he adds. “Adding the freshness of our meat product to a number of fresh condiments achieves this. It is important for our consumers to know how many sandwiches can be made and the components included in each.

“Nutritional disclosure has always been a key element to our packaging as we strive to keep moms informed about what they feed their families,” he continues. “This information is available on our package, and”

Hill says his company’s double-zipper recloseable package and interleaved portions benefit moms by being easy to use and by offering versatility, convenience and shelf-life.

Packaging materials for these innovative products are purchased from suppliers Land O’Frost has a great deal of confidence in after working with them for years. “The Double Zipper is a Zip-Pak product, the films are supplied by Graphic Packaging International and the interleaf paper is purchased from Packaging Progressions. The reliability of these suppliers has been a key to the successful launch of these lines,” Marion says. Packaging for both the Sub Kit and Wrap Kit lines are handled by Multivac packaging machines.

Both Sub Kits and Wrap Kits are sold at retail grocery stores and superstores nationally. “Because the products are so versatile and competitively priced, we recognize the advantages of offering them in club stores and other retail outlets and are pursuing these channels actively,” Marion says.

Land O’Frost’s Sub Sandwich Kits aren’t the only ones on the market. “Obviously, we feel our product is of a higher quality and offers consumers the best meat available in this format,” Hill says. “The Wrap Kit, however, is a unique offering in the category.”

The bottom line

Sales of Land O’Frost’s Sub Kits increased 71 percent in 2011 vs. 2010. “This makes it one of our more successful new product launches of recent years,” Marion says. “Wrap Kits have also received great acceptance at retail.”

Bottom line, Land O’Frost is excited to be offering such new and innovative products in the marketplace, Marion says. “Leveraging our long-standing category leadership in slicing and packaging to this type of new format is an example of the commitment that Land O’Frost has to developing products that give our consumers great tasting solutions to the challenges they face in their lives every day,” he concluded.