Tyson reintroduces Holly Farms brand at retail

by Bryan Salvage
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WILKESBORO and SALISBURY, N.C. — After a decade-long hiatus, Tyson Foods’ Holly Farms poultry brand is making a comeback on a regional scale. Tyson Foods Inc. and Food Lion LLC announced on Sept. 28 plans to reintroduce Holly Farms fresh chicken at more than 1,200 Food Lion, Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food grocery outlets in the eastern U.S.

Food Lion has an opportunity to reintroduce one of the most well-respected brands of fresh chicken at its stores, said Hans Lefebvre, vice-president of meat and seafood merchandising at Food Lion LLC. "In an economy where consumers are always searching for premium products at great prices, we are able to provide both to our customers through this arrangement," he added.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to provide a unique product offering exclusive to our customers, while delivering on our commitment of quality products at great prices," he continued. "The Holly Farms brand has a strong heritage in many markets in which we operate as a provider of quality, premium fresh chicken at a great price."

Reintroducing this brand enables Food Lion to provide a differentiated product to its customers at or below current store brand fresh chicken prices, Mr. Lefebvre said.

Retailers will begin stocking the Holly Farms fresh chicken in stores this week, replacing store-brand fresh chicken with Holly Farms premium-brand chicken at Food Lion, Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food stores.

"We're excited about working with Food Lion LLC to offer Holly Farms-branded chicken to consumers again," said Tim Price, vice-president of business development for Tyson Foods' retail fresh poultry business. "We plan to produce a wide variety of tray-packed chicken products with the same freshness, safety and quality people have historically expected from products bearing the Holly Farms name."

In 1958, the Holly Farms poultry company was founded in Wilkesboro, N.C. Over the years, the brand had built a reputation for high-quality, fresh, tray-packed chicken, according to a news release. The company and its operations were bought by Tyson Foods in 1989. By the late 1990s, Holly Farms was phased out as a national brand.

The reintroduced line of chicken will primarily be produced at the same Wilkesboro poultry complex where Holly Farms began. Plants in Monroe, N.C.; Temperanceville, Va., and Shelbyville, Tenn., will also be involved in producing this product.

"We believe this initiative will help ensure continued economic stability for our plant," said Mark Welborn, manager of Tyson's Wilkesboro plant. "In fact, we expect it will actually lead to an incremental increase in the volume of fresh chicken we produce in Wilkesboro."

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