Hard work and innovation
Deli Star’s bread and butter business consists of producing cooked meats for the c-store segment and specializes in serving sandwich makers, salad makers and food service industries. The SPP process allows for fresh, preservative-free meats and salads. The process guarantees safe food with an extended shelf life and quality flavor.
Dan Siegel founded Deli Star in 1987, primarily as a research and development business, and today the company still makes R&D a priority in its strategy. In fact, in 2015, Deli Star had 80 R&D projects in the pipeline. Meanwhile, food science is something that the Siegels are all passionate about. That continued commitment to innovation earned Justin and Dan recognition as EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalists in the Central Midwest in 2014. The award recognized the Siegels’ work to develop a novel software application to better manage and monitor manufacturing controls, as well as recent advances in the science of fresh meat packaging. Both ideas have led to new divisions: Agility Food Systems and AmVac Packaging, respectively.
Agility Food Systems was born of work in which Andrew Siegel played a major role.
“Instead of the usual out-of-the-box software commonly seen in a manufacturing environment, we customized a web-based software that allows any user to instantly monitor business functions, especially within the supply chain, which optimizes order entry, fulfillment, and logistics,” Andrew says. “With this, you can add certain capabilities that you wouldn’t be able to with your standard systems.” Justin ran with the innovation.
“We decided to start to develop it a little further to take it to the industry, standardize it a little more. Working with the developers, who are very smart, we formed a company called Agility Food Systems,” Justin says. “We had such success here with the software, we think it’s something to share and we’re excited about that. It hasn’t been launched yet, it’s just a business plan. We’re talking to other companies at this point and they’re excited about it.”
The company's new St. Louis Innovation center (SLIC) allows collaboration with existing and potential customers to develop new products an processes.
“Customers appreciate the convenience of having quality meat options for their families when time doesn’t allow for a long trip to the store,” Dan says. “The one-stop, quick in and out, pick up what you need and be on your way availability of fresh meats at a c-store makes life easier and family time longer, not to mention tastier,” he adds.
The work that employees and the executives at Deli Star put in regularly, coupled with Dan’s prowess in meat science, 40 years of industry experience and reputation in the business, all allow Deli Star to serve its partners far beyond their expectations. Building on this history of continuous improvement and investment, the company recently opened the St. Louis Innovation Center (SLIC) as an important next step in customer partnership and relationship cultivation.
The commitment to research and development and dedication to customer service all come together in the new innovation center and complement Deli Star’s mission to serve and be a leader in the industry. The company sees itself as a resource that brings scientists, customers and chefs together. The downtown St. Louis-based facility houses office space, conference rooms and a commercial-style kitchen.
Deli Star uses the St. Louis Innovation Center as a place for existing and potential customers to come in and work side by side with company chefs and R&D teams to collaboratively develop products specific to customer needs and ideas. Some high-volume, potential customers have already been through the facility and it has been well received so far. Justin is confident they will get the business. From menu-ideation to testing, and all points in between, the SLIC serves to advance Deli Star’s commitment to bringing better quality products to market quicker than the competition.