DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. — Tyson Fresh Meat’s Emporia, Kan. plant has undergone a major conversion and the operation is running well, a Tyson Foods spokesperson told MEATPOULTRY.com.

Two years ago, the facility focused on live cattle coming in and standard-size boxes of subprimal beef going out. The facility is now focused on “a laser-beam approach on customer-centric innovation across multiple species,” according to the company.

The modifications have culminated in the ibp Specialty Cut Meats program. Starting in March 2008, the changes allow Tyson Fresh Meats to better meet retail and foodservice industry needs through processes such as further trimming and dividing of subprimals and providing innovative new cuts manufactured to customer specifications.

“The ibp Specialty Cut Meats program enables us to work with each customer to create products that fit their specific needs,” said Chris Benson, vice-president of value-added meats, Tyson Fresh Meats. “Customers can easily tailor their product mixes to meet consumer needs and increase customer loyalty as a result.”

The ibp Specialty Cut Meats program includes a wide variety of products allowing customers to extend their current lines, roll out private-label lines, add sliced and diced items, implement new products, add seasoned and marinated lines and utilize controlled portion cuts, according to the company.

The ibp Specialty Cut Meats program includes:

? Reuben Corned Beef, which offers retailers the added value of Angus beef for their corned-beef offerings. The Reuben Original is a point-cut product, while Reuben Classic is flat cut. An added advantage to this program is now including a Certified Angus Beef Corned Beef item, which allows retailers to take advantage of premium product positioning in this category. An Eye of Round product, outside the Angus program, is also available. All products include a spice packet.

“The Reuben Corned Beef line was a huge success with our customers this past St. Patrick’s Day,” said Matthew Brink, category manager for Shop-n-Save, a retailer with headquarters in St. Louis, Mo. with 41 stores. “The product was labeled with detailed cooking instructions, making it easy for consumers to purchase it and prepare it themselves at home. We were able to increase our sales by 25% this year compared to last year.”

? Everyday Steaks allows retailers to build added sales and profits by adding flavorful alternatives to the traditional steaks now found in their meat case.

? Tender Promise Beef includes steaks enhanced with up to a 12% solution, providing beef cuts in vacuum packaging to maximize shelf life and provide consumers with optimal tenderness at a great value.

? The ibp Premium Sliced Beef program includes a variety of cuts and slice thicknesses to give retailers the flexibility they need to meet the growing demands of ethnic consumers.

? ibp Singles offers retailers high-quality subprimals boxed individually to help retailers manage shrink and control inventory levels.

“The ibp Singles is a long-awaited alternative to the standard sized box,” said Robin Plamondon, director of meat, seafood, deli and bakery for Associated Grocers of New England. “This line allows the lower-volume retailer to purchase subprimals as needed while minimizing shrink and maximizing capital. Because Associated Grocers of New England carries both Select grade and Certified Angus Beef product lines to meet the needs of our diverse customer base, the new box sizes made our operations more efficient.”

“The Emporia plant is also doing a portion-cut pork line for foodservice and it is approved to do poultry,” a Tyson Fresh Meats spokesperson told MEATPOULTRY.com.