Minimal processing and simple ingredient statements have become the new norm in the world of food and beverage development. What does this mean to the meat and poultry industries?
Packages of meat and poultry – uncooked and prepared – are increasingly sporting claims associated with the animal’s diet and welfare. Processors are working closely with farmers and ranchers to understand their operations and communicate this to consumers on product packaging and websites.
Pasture One, Petaluma, California, markets grass-fed and finished beef from cattle not administered antibiotics or hormones. In addition to conveying this on package labels, the company also provides “ranch of origin” information, which identifies the specific ranch where the beef came from.
“At Pasture One, we are very excited to be leaders in this great movement for better beef, better environment and better health, and support our farmers who are doing the hard work of raising cattle the right way,” says Peter Hausin, CEO.
The company explains that these best practices result in beef with half the fat and cholesterol of standard beef. The meat is also packed with omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid. In addition, the company uses the meat to make premium uncured hot dogs and sausages that contain no artificial nitrites or preservatives. This is all communicated on the label.
Just Bare Chicken from GNP Co., a subsidiary of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., Greeley, Colorado, which markets organic and “no-antibiotics ever” products includes a four-digit code on packages. This allows consumers to trace the origin of the chicken via the company’s website to see and learn more about the actual family farmers who raised the chickens. Research conducted by the company in 2015 had 31 percent of consumers stating they would not buy chicken unless they knew where it was from and 61 percent said they would like to know where it came from if they could.
“We believe everyone should have the ability to follow the journey of his or her food, from farm to fork,” says Rory Bidinger, senior brand manager for Just Bare.
Since 2014, Creekstone Farms, Arkansas City, Kansas, has offered a line of natural pork products made from Duroc pork. The breed’s genetics create a high-quality pork product with increased flavor. Duroc meat has a higher pH factor, which means it has darker color, more firmness, increased tenderness and lower drip loss, which leads to better yields without the addition of moisture-enhancing ingredients, which keeps ingredient statements simple.
The company communicates that the hogs are raised crate free on a 100 percent vegetarian diet. They are not administered antibiotics or growth promotants. All of the pork is processed at a single facility owned by some of the same family farmers responsible for raising the hogs.
Recognizing growing consumer interest in non-genetically modified foods, the company now offers Non-GMO Project verified Black Angus beef from RR1 Farms LLC, Scribner, Nebraska, a single-family farm raising beef from only US born-and-raised cattle.