There are many ways in which retailers and their supplier partners can lure consumers by adding value to their meat offerings.

Many retailers cut beef, pork and poultry into single-serving portions for convenience. Others add their own seasonings and marinades so consumers don’t have to. Cutting meat and vegetables in-house and sticking a stewer through them – voila, kebabs – is another popular option.

Increasingly, grocers are also packaging cuts of meat with cut vegetables and other sides to provide harried consumers with an easy and quick unwrap-and-cook dinner solution.

On the supplier side, more and more companies are jumping on the convenience bandwagon with meats that require little or no prep.

Grass-fed beef specialist Verde Farms, for instance, offers four value-added marinated meat products in addition to its line of conventional meat products for grocery retail.

Inspired by global flavors, the products are ready-to-cook for convenient easy meals. They include:

  • Gaucho Steakhouse Tri-Tip Kebobs;
  • Carne Asada Flank Steak;
  • Korean Style Sesame Beef Sirloin Tips; and
  • Green Chimichurri Flank Steak.

Like all of Verde’s products, its four value-added marinated products are made from 100 percent grass-fed and 100 percent grass-finished free-range beef, are 100 percent organic and are antibiotic- and hormone-free.

Heat-and-eat heats up

One of the newest additions to Spartanburg Meat Processing Co.’s product lineup is a heat-and-eat branded rib product.

Spartanburg, South Carolina-based Spartanburg’s 24-oz. TGI Fridays rib tray is marketed in supermarket delis, says JoAnne LaBounty, the company’s president and CEO.

“The feedback has been tremendous,” LaBounty says. “There’s an opportunity in the market. Folks like the reusable tray.”

In addition to branded products, Spartanburg supplies private-label grocery deli products to Winn-Dixie, Safeway and other retailers.

Spartanburg’s full line of value-added products includes cooked pork baby back ribs in any size from 1 to over 2.5. lbs. St. Louis style pork ribs are also available in a range of sizes from 1.5 to over 3 lbs.

The company also offers two house blends of dry rub that add the perfect seasoning to fully cooked pork ribs.

Spartanburg’s fully cooked pork riblets with barbecue sauce are favored as a great appetizer for parties and tailgating. “The quick preparation by oven, grill or microwave makes less time preparing and more time sharing,” according to the company.

And Spartanburg is about more than just ribs. Fully cooked shredded pork, chicken or beef in 15-, 16- or 18-oz. containers are a fast, easy meal for retail customers. This line of products can be customized with varying shred density from fine to coarse as well as the flavor and quantity of sauce in the blend.

All Spartanburg products are made to order to maximize the shelf life and integrity of the product. The company’s team of specialists combine customers’ ingredients of choice, meat, sauce and packaging to achieve the perfectly tailored retail product.  

That includes choice of cooking method – steamed, smoked or both. All items are custom sized and packed to customer specifications in vacuum packaging allowing the longest possible shelf life.

Spartanburg’s fresh value-added products have a shelf life of over 150 days. Label choices include a variety of house labels or the company can co-pack retailers’ own brands.

Brand power

Another innovation in value-added meats arrived last year from Carl Buddig and Co.’s partnership with charcoal category leader Kingsford features a variety of barbecue and other meat meal traditions, including Baby Back Pork Ribs, Pulled Pork, Pulled Beef Brisket and Seasoned Pork Carnitas.

The program has been “very well received,” to the point where the ribs are now No. 1 in their category, says Robert Gay, vice president of marketing for Homewood, Illinois-based Buddig. The ribs are packed in their own oven- and grill-ready pan and can be cooked in 15 minutes in the oven or 8 minutes on the grill, Gay says.

On-trend with clean label, the product contains no HFCS or artificial flavors or preservatives.

“Kingsford is a highly respected brand across categories with exceptional consumer awareness. This partnership is a natural fit for Buddig as we continue to grow our product line of fresh, great-tasting meats,” says Tom Buddig, executive vice president of Buddig. “We’re excited to expand our line of pre-cooked barbecued ribs and entrees under the Kingsford brand while continuing to drive synergies with their BBQ sauces, flavored charcoal and grilling products.”

Turkey options

Turkey has seen big growth as a more healthful alternative to other meats, and value-added turkey options make up a big part of the story.

One of the newest value-added items from Telford, Pennsylvania-based Godshall’s Quality Meats Inc., a specialist in premium meats and turkey products, is aimed at jerky fans looking for an easier eating experience.

The new Artisan Butcher-branded turkey bites from Godshall’s are softer than typical turkey jerky, making them easier to eat, says Brandon Hill, the company’s Western regional sales manager – retail. The 3-oz. packs come in three flavors: pineapple teriyaki, mango sriracha and Korean BBQ.

Jewel, Fresh Thyme, Northern California Safeway are among the retailers selling the product.