Roll out the jerky

by Joel Crews
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Ball Park recenlty unveiled five flavors of the brand's Flame Grilled Jerky.
Ball Park brand jerky takes advantage of flame-grilling to ensure tenderness and lock in the flavor.

CHICAGO – In the midst of Major League Baseball’s playoff games, consumers will get a chance to try out a savory roster of Ball Park’s beef and pork jerky, which is launching nationally this week.

Capitalizing on Ball Park’s stature as the top hot dog brand, Hillshire — a subsidiary of Tyson Foods since2014 — is rolling out five flavor profiles of Ball Park Brand’s Flame Grilled jerky. Tyson officials confirmed plans to make an official announcement of the product launch Oct. 14. Available in beef flavors that include Original, Bourbon BBQ and Peppered and pork flavors including Teriyaki and Barbecue, the products are available at approximately 10,000 US retailers, including Safeway, Meijer, Kroger, Publix and Walmart stores, according to Tyson.

Just a year before the Tyson acquisition of The Hillshire Brands Co. in 2014, Hillshire acquired Golden Island gourmet jerky, a premium product with a tender texture that is mirrored by the new line of Ball Park products. Tyson officials point out a flame-grilled process is used to seal in the flavor of all the products in the line. In a MEAT+POULTRY cover story this past June, Sally Grimes, Tyson’s president and chief global growth officer said the new Ball Park products use a different formula and a different approach, while utilizing elements of the Golden Island technique.

“We’ve learned from that process,” Grimes said, “which is proprietary and delivers a more-tender product.”

This past March, Andy Callahan, Tyson’s president of retail packaged goods discussed the new line during a presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of Europe (CAGE) conference.

“We are going to disrupt this category with a product that is flame grilled, which is differentiating within the category,” Callahan said. “And therefore it will taste better, and it will provide a tender differentiating opportunity,” which was affirmed during test marketing. “Our customers are extremely excited about this opportunity,” Callahan added.

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