Slideshow: Tyson is embracing consumption variety through innovation

by Keith Nunes
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BOCA RATON, Fla. — Sally Grimes, president of North American retail for Tyson Foods Inc., unveiled numerous new product concepts during the company’s Feb. 21 presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference taking place this week in Boca Raton.

What was the bottom line of the presentation? Tyson Foods is focused on building a dominant position as an innovator throughout retail.

Sally Grimes
Sally Grimes, president of North American retail at Tyson Foods

“We have changed how we look at our entire retail fresh protein portfolio,” Grimes said. “We view it as a consumer business, where branding and innovation will drive revenue and growth. We think the idea of CFG, or consumer fresh goods, is a tremendous opportunity. But it’s one thing to recognize the growth potential. It’s another to realize it.”

She described the concept of “multidimensional innovation” as creating food that is less processed, available in flexible forms, is functional and fits into the lives of consumers. During the presentation, Grimes highlighted a series of new products she said fits within the definition of the concept.

One new initiative from the company is the expansion of its Tyson Tastemakers platform to retail. This past fall the company introduced Tastemakers as an exclusive product available through e-commerce.

“We sold out during our launch period, and we’re seeing an average on-line rating of four stars with really high repeat rates,” she said. “We’ll refresh the menu every season and we’re launching our spring menu next month, with items like carne asada street tacos, Thai lemongrass pork belly, and piri-piri chicken.

“And based on the successful e-commerce launch of the brand, we are now extending the platform into retail as a way to continue accelerating growth within the growing perimeter. We’re going to start in May with a limited launch, including items like citrus rum glazed chicken, cracked peppercorn flat iron steak, and soy ginger pork chops.”

Tyson Foods also is extending its reach in the fresh meat case with the introduction of ground chicken.

“This is proof that innovation does not need to be that complicated,” Grimes said. “We’ll be entering this category with the launch of Tyson ground chicken in June. It’s lean; it’s all natural, with no antibiotics ever. And our culinary team is creating all kinds of inspiring recipes to share with consumers, from chicken meatballs to chicken sliders.”

A plethora of new products are being added to Tyson Foods’ Jimmy Dean brand, including Simple Scrambles, Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls, Jimmy Dean Bites and Jimmy Dean Omelets. The Scrambles concept features two liquid eggs, a pouch of Jimmy Dean meat and cheese, and it is packaged in a microwavable to-go cup.

Jimmy Dean Bowls will be built around such chef-inspired recipes as Ranchero steak and eggs.

“ … Consumers told us that they could see eating this beyond breakfast, as we capitalize on the trend of all-day breakfast eating for incremental occasions for the Jimmy Dean brand,” Grimes said.

Mini is the focus of Jimmy Dean Bites. The initial launch will feature pancake and sausage Bites, but Grimes said future innovation of the line will include nuggets, corndogs and more.

Within Tyson’s Hillshire platform the company plans to introduce a variety of premium meat offerings. Such varieties as prosciutto and a wine-infused pairing of dried meat with natural cheeses will be added to the Hillshire Snacking line. In addition, the introduction of Hillshire Smoked Meats will feature slow smoked meats that may be prepared in minutes, according to the company. Varieties included in the line will be beef brisket, drumsticks and chicken breasts.

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