KANSAS CITY, MO. – Lloyd’s Barbeque Co., based in St. Paul, Minn., was founded in 1977 by Lloyd Siegel. Siegel’s vision was to create convenient barbecue options for retail consumers. Since then, the Lloyd’s brand of heat-and-eat shredded pork, beef and chicken in plastic, resealable tubs has become a mainstay at retailers all across the US. The company also is known for its branded pre-cooked beef ribs pork spareribs and pork babyback ribs in the retail case. The company also maintains a line of foodservice products. General Mills acquired Lloyd’s from Siegel 1999. Hormel Foods Corp. signed a purchase agreement for the company in 2005. Lloyd’s is now the most widely distributed national pre-cooked barbecue brand is the No. 1 selling pre-cooked rib brand in the retail channel.

Eric Jacobson, Lloyd’s brand manager, recently talked about the increase in popularity of barbecue in the US, and how Hormel, with brands that include Lloyd’s, and with investments more recently that include Sadler’s Smokehouse, is capitalizing on the growth in this segment. Hormel’s diverse product lines showcase the appetite American consumers have for its barbecue products and the focus on pursuing pit-smoked perfection.

Read more about the barbecue segment, including Hormel’s recent acquisition of Sadler’s Smokehouse, in MEAT+POULTRY’s annual Barbecue Report, in the June issue.  

MEAT+POULTRY: What are the indicators Hormel R&D officials monitor that indicate barbecue continues to be a popular mainstay for American consumers?

Eric Jacobson: A number of sources are monitored at Hormel Foods that indicate barbecue is a growth area. These include restaurant trends, IRI retail data, Hormel Foods sales data, interaction with our customers, primary research, syndicated research sources, social media, consumer responses and more.

M+P: Can you provide a quick overview of the Lloyd’s line of barbecue products?

Jacobson: Lloyd’s barbecue products are sold by Hormel Foods national sales professionals. The sales team works directly with retailers to deliver winning promotional plans and the latest market trends to put them in the best position to be successful.

We offer pork Baby Back and St. Louis style ribs, along with the only center beef rib in the category. Ribs are available in sizes ranging from 1 to 3 lbs to provide the consumer with multiple options to best meet their barbecue rib needs. We also offer Lloyd’s line of convenient shredded meats available in a re-useable tub in choices that include pork, chicken and beef. Lloyd’s sauce flavors include Original, Honey Hickory, Kansas City Style and Spicy Chipotle.

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M+P: Competition BBQ has grown exponentially over the past decade and the number of consumers who consider themselves ‘pitmasters’ has spiked too. How does Hormel ensure the Lloyd’s product line offers the quality and consistency of today’s barbecue offerings from the back porch or on the menu?

Jacobson: Lloyd’s brand products are produced in a dedicated barbecue production facility near St. Paul, Minn. This includes all Lloyd’s ribs and shredded meats. Many foodservice barbecue products are produced at the facility as well.

M+P: What is it about Lloyd’s retail offerings (including the slabs of ribs and rib tips) that distinguishes it in the crowded retail barbecue space?

Jacobson: Lloyd’s has been around for 40 years and it is a familiar brand. Consumers trust Lloyd’s because they know the brand only makes barbecue. When a consumer enters a grocery store, they can expect to see a Lloyd’s product on the shelf that delivers on quality, value and a fun eating experience. From sizes to flavors, Lloyd’s meets the needs of consumers in grocery stores across America.

M+P: Do Lloyd’s product developers take inspiration from the increased popularity of popularity of barbecue cookoffs taking place all over the country? How challenging is it to duplicate that caliber of products?

Jacobson: Competition barbecue represents the pinnacle of American barbecue heritage. To duplicate the style and quality of competition barbecue outside of the competition circuit is challenging. Until now it was only found in barbecue restaurants, where the pitmasters are able to watch over every batch of meat that goes into the smoker, just like in competitions.

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We wanted to bring something unique to the retail barbecue category. The overwhelming challenge we faced was how to bring the quality and heritage of competitive barbecue, along with the eating experience of a successful barbecue restaurant, to grocery stores across the country. To accomplish this, Lloyd’s Barbeque Co. is partnering with Pig Beach BBQ, winner of eight World BBQ Championships at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Combining Hormel Food’s meat smoking expertise with the 2-Time World BBQ Champion BBQ sauce, we have created a delicious combination of smoked meat and barbecue sauce.

Pig Beach is led by CIA-trained chefs Matt Abdoo and Shane McBride. Combing their fine dining expertise and championship barbecue skills, their BBQ demands the attention of competition judges with world BBQ championships as well as New York City diners at the successful Pig Beach NYC restaurant in Brooklyn, NY.