By Ryan McCarthy
From the editors of MEAT+POULTRY, this weekly Podcast is your online portal to hear from experts in the industry about the latest news, trends, technologies and people in the world of meat and poultry processing.
Volpi Foods CEO commemorates 120 years in business
Volpi Foods is celebrating its 120th anniversary in 2022. This specialty meat processor is a longtime staple of the Hill neighborhood in St. Louis, but it has grown immensely in the last few decades. The company operates five production facilities to manufacture its Italian cured meats using time, experience and technology. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Lorenza Pasetti, the third-generation chief executive officer of Volpi, shared how the company continues to stick to its roots while also embracing new technology in its four processing plants that address packaging waste, management and food safety. Pasetti went through the history of Volpi and how she feels like a steward for this generation of the business. She also explains the advantages of being in the middle of the country when the business has grown into national distribution. Later in the conversation, Pasetti paints a picture of its original retail store that dates back to the early 1900s. For more details on the Volpi business, check out the 2019 MEAT+POULTRY profile of Pasetti and the specialty meat operation.
November 11, 2022
Cattaneo Bros. thrives in meat snack era
Cattaneo Bros., in San Luis Obispo, Calif., continues to push forward as a small business as it celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2022. The meat processor is a lean operation specializing in jerky, beef sticks, and handmade European-style sausages. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRYpodcast, Katelyn Kaney, chief executive officer of Cattaneo, shared some of her thoughts on the meat snack business and how the family-owned company has established itself as a brand. Kaney reflects on taking over the operation at a young age and how she’s continued to grow it during the last 15 years. Kaney also describes the role athletic activities played in her life and how that helped connect to a new market of customers. Along with the production facility, Cattaneo Bros. also operates a retail location called The Mercantile, near the plant. She also discusses the company’s strategy for expanding retail stores, mainly around the West Coast. The podcast finishes with Katelyn explaining the online strategy for Cattaneo and how it expects to grow in the future.
October 28, 2022
USMEF celebrates Japanese export market
In September, the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) sent a delegation to Tokyo, Japan, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the inaugural USMEF office opened in the city in 1977. Japan remains crucial to the US export market, and the association felt like it was an appropriate time to celebrate the long-standing relationship. So, for this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, we talked with Dan Halstrom, president and chief executive officer for USMEF on what this mission meant for his group and their Japanese counterparts. Near the beginning of the episode, Halstrom looked back at the historical perspective of working with Japan and what it meant to the growth of USMEF. Later, Halstrom explained some of the activities US representatives could participate in that showcased American red meat and provided an overview of factors impacting demand for red meat in Japan. He also shared what it meant to have delegates from various sectors of the US agriculture industry up and down the red meat supply chain. Near the end, Dan gives some general thoughts on what the export market looks like for 2022.
October 14, 2022
Arkansas professors detail the role of beef in the state
Although poultry is the dominant protein industry Arkansas, beef is a vital part of the state’s agricultural economy. That’s why professors and researchers at the University of Arkansas are promoting initiatives that can impact farmers and producers of beef. For this episode of the MEAT+POULTRYpodcast, Kelly Vierck, assistant professor of animal science, and Derico Setyabrata, assistant professor of meat science and muscle biology, discussed what their efforts to develop the beef industry in Fayetteville. Vierck described some basics about the University of Arkansas’ relationship with the Arkansas Beef Council and how it hopes to help add more small beef processors in the future. After going over the college’s approach to research, Setyabrata discussed his project, where he will use meat microbiomes to predict beef quality and shelf life. Vierck’s also discussed her latest project, experimenting with factors that affect palatability improvements and eating experiences with beef.
September 30, 2022
Sanderson Farms talks about mentoring programs
Sanderson Farms, now a part of Wayne-Sanderson Farms, continues to tout its employee investment as the main reason the poultry processor remains successful. One of the ways the company believes it’s been effective is by implementing formal mentoring programs in recent years. Romika Wells, director of organization development and training at Sanderson Farms, is one of the key people behind executing this strategy for executives and others. She discussed the program in this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast. Wells discusses how the mentoring program helps with retention throughout the company. She also explained how the program changed during COVID-19 and how she hopes some of it will move back in person. Later, Wells referenced a pilot hourly mentoring program that expands the development of employees to more areas of the company. She also reflects on how the program has helped her professional development at Sanderson.
September 16, 2022
True Story Foods CEO banks on organic meats
True Story Foods in Northern California is all about taking their experience in the meat industry and applying it to the next generation of small American family farms. Phil Gatto, co-founder and chief executive officer of True Story, recently joined the MEAT+POULTRY podcast to share some of his company's history, including his family’s background and how they broke into the organic meat industry. Gatto discussed some of True Story Foods products and how it competes in the organic meat segment. Gatto detailed how the company sources products that meet the organic standards. He also talked about one of his business partners, Russ Kremer, who oversees True Story’s heritage breed program in Missouri. Gatto explained how maintaining relationships with customers and suppliers are keys to his company’s success.
September 02, 2022
Meat Processor Academy benefits niche companies
Smaller meat processors are always looking for essential resources to improve their practices to provide a quality product to their community. That’s where the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN) comes into play. Rebecca Thistlethwaite, director of the program, recently launched the Meat Processor Academy. This is a self-paced course designed to provide content on topics related to business, finances and operational aspects of meat processing to smaller businesses. During this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Thistlethwaite explains what NMPAN’s Meat Processor Academy offers processing companies. Thistlethwaite briefly discusses the AAMP convention and how partnering with that association helps spread its message about the program. Later on, Thistlethwaite details how the Meat Processor Academy benefits small meat processors ready to expand their output. Finally, Thistlethwaite explains how she got involved with the association, including her background in agriculture.
August 19, 2022
NC State Professor looks at the year in HPAI
With highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) cases coming down in the last few months in the United States, it was important to take an overall look at what happened with the virus at the beginning of 2022. The HPAI discussion for this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast was with Matthew Koci, a professor in NC State University’s Prestage Department of Poultry Science who studies virology and immunology. Koci details the impact wild birds had on many of the HPAI cases this year and how different states handled outbreaks. He also examines the difficulties of figuring out where the virus was within the country and what went into coordinating responses between the US Department of Agriculture and the local state animal health officials. Koci lays out some historical touch points for HPAI and how it helps deal with all diseases in the poultry industry. Later, Koci considers what North Carolina State does to try to help with HPAI and he discusses his background in infectious diseases.
August 05, 2022
Lance Zimmerman joins Rabo AgriFinance team
Lance Zimmerman, the senior beef analyst at Rabo AgriFinance, wants to share his experience studying the cattle industry with the entire beef supply chain. During the conversation for the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Zimmerman describes why the move to Rabo AgriFinance was the right one for his career. Previously, Zimmerman worked for nearly 12 years at CattleFax as a market analyst. Zimmerman starts off discussing his background of being a Kansas rancher and how it helps him during his analysis daily. Next, he dives into some topics that are affecting the cattle industry including supply chain issues, identifying consumer demands and the drought conditions in the Midwest. Zimmerman also talks about what feed costs could look like for the rest of 2022 and how well the United States is trading with other countries in cattle. Finally, Zimmerman returns to why he enjoys this job and what he hopes to bring to the table in the future at Rabobank.
July 22, 2022
Western’s Smokehouse making moves in meat snacks
The meat snack industry is not showing any signs of slowing down. The same can be said for Western’s Smokehouse Partners. In June 2022, the company announced an addition to its headquarters in Greentop, Mo., and will soon begin renovating a 100,000-square-foot facility in Burlington, Iowa, scheduled for completion by May 2023. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRYpodcast, Matt Bormann, chief executive officer of Western’s, talked about the company’s expansion. Bormann discussed the demand for meat snacks and why the category has become such a successful business over the past four years for Western’s and allowed for expansions and acquisitions, including its 2020 acquisition of Thrushwood Farms Quality Meats in Galesburg, Ill. Later Bormann talked about labor retention and how the company keeps its employees pleased with the current work schedule. Competitiveness in the meat snack industry and the importance of both retail and e-commerce are also detailed. In another part of the conversation, Bormmann discussed his background and how he’s adjusted to this new chapter of working in the meat industry.
July 08, 2022
Challenges and opportunities in the meat distribution sector
As summer heats up, commercial meat buyers are figuring out their inventory while filling orders for customers. With ongoing supply chain difficulties, labor shortages and various other factors along with inflation, people like Kevin Lindgren, the director of merchandising at the Bronx, NY-based Baldor Specialty Foods, are navigating the world of meat on a day-to-day basis. For this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Lindgren detailed how meat distributors and buyers are handling market forces when procuring products for customers. Lindgren described what Baldor has done to deal with the volatility in the market and how it’s become part of the job since the COVID-19 pandemic began. He also explained some of the differences in his job working in the summer compared to the frantic pace of the holiday season. Finally, Lindgren discussed his background with Baldor and what he enjoys about working in this sector of the food world.
June 24, 2022
Starting up a beef cooperative
In June, the South Carolina Beef Marketing Cooperative was formed thanks to help from various agricultural entities across the state. Small beef producers continue to look for solutions to have their products processed closer to home, which is what the co-op plans to accomplish in the next few years. For this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Gwen McPhail, treasurer of the cooperative and owner of Black Diamond Sheep and Cattle in Seneca, SC, explains the reason for starting the cooperative and what economic factors led to its formation. McPhail shares her vision for cattlemen and women in South Carolina, including having a South Carolina branded product and possibly another processing plant that is centrally located. McPhail also describes her role in South Carolina beef and how others are raising animals in the state. Later, McPhail explains what it means to pool resources from around the state to find solutions for rural farmers.
June 10, 2022
Jeff Tripician details his new role as CEO of Teton Waters Ranch
After his tenure at Niman Ranch, Jeff Tripician is on to his next challenge in the meat business. Tripician recently assumed the role of chief executive officer of Teton Waters Ranch based in Denver, Colo. During this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Tripician explained what motivates him about the opportunity at Teton and how it compares to other steps in his meat industry career. Tripician assessed how Teton Waters Ranch’s offerings compare to other meat products in the category and how the company plans to grow its brand in 2022. He also discussed the history and trend of natural grass-fed-and-finished meats and how it’s become more prominent in the meat industry. Finally, Tripician described some of the goals he hoped to achieve early on in his tenure with Teton Waters Ranch.
May 27, 2022
USPOULTRY looks at Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
Paul Bredwell, executive vice president of regulatory programs for USPOULTRY focuses on the needs of poultry industry members and providing guidance on what could be the next regulations from state or federal officials. The association is currently looking at the remand of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and how it affects a variety of poultry operations around the country. The EPCRA requires reporting of releases of hazardous substances that meet or exceed reportable quantities within a 24-hour period. The purpose of the notification is for federal, state, tribal, and local officials to evaluate the need for an emergency response to mitigate the effects of a release to the community. For this podcast, Paul examines the EPCRA and how it falls into similar categories of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Bredwell describes how companies, state agencies and federal regulators work when it comes to these emergency planning issues. USPOULTRY is also monitoring the issue of responding to emergencies and non-emergencies at poultry operations. Lastly, Bredwell discusses his work with USPOULTRY over the last 15 years and how he researches various rules and regulations.
May 13, 2022
Superior Farms CEO touts Sheep Discovery Center
Superior Farms, a leading lamb production and processing operation based in Sacramento, Calif., continues to look for new and inventive ways to transform its product and stay ahead in its segment of the meat industry. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Rick Stott, chief executive officer of Superior Farms, detailed the company’s new Sheep Discovery Center. The facility is a partnership with sheep producers from six different states and is located in Nephi, Utah. Stott explains why this production facility was built in this location and how it will enhance the company’s lamb production. Stott shares how the center fits into the sheep supply chain and how it finds future sustainable solutions for lamb. He also discusses some of the technologies that will be used to enhance sheep production year-round. Listen as Rick Stott provides the background and future of this latest investment by Superior Farms.
April 29, 2022
AAMP’s new outreach specialist provides fresh perspective
Since joining the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), new outreach specialist Abbey Davidson has hit the ground running with her enthusiasm and experience in the meat industry. During this episode the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Davidson talked about getting acclimated during her first few months at AAMP and how she’s worked to build relationships with members. Davidson explained how AAMP is continuing to grow its outreach efforts with two outreach specialists now working with members across the country, providing information and resources to help them succeed and grow their businesses. Davidson also discussed how AAMP continues to provide information for longstanding members while recruiting new members. During her time in this new role, Davidson described what she’s learned on the job and how she will continue to pick up information on the industry. Davidson also highlighted what is coming up at AAMP’s annual convention, July 14-16 in Des Moines, Iowa.
April 15, 2022
Pasture-raised poultry farming
As someone who is hands-on with regenerative agriculture in South Carolina, Jeff Siewicki of Vital Mission Farms is anxious to share his experiences on a small farm in the low country. In the last few years, Siewicki has learned how to adapt to the land with his poultry farm and, at the same time, continue to build up his name as a sustainable farmer in the Charleston area. During this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Siewicki describes how he started with pasteurized poultry and how he maintains the poultry he raises now. Siewicki later explains his options for processing his turkey and duck products in his area as he primarily services regional restaurants and customers. Later, Siewicki describes how he needed to find different ways to sell his product during the COVID-19 pandemic after the restaurant business changed in Charleston, where he sold a majority of his poultry. Another topic tackled during the discussion was Siewicki’s online course, where he teaches others how to scale a small poultry farm.
April 01, 2022
Mulay’s Sausage expands its family-owned brand
Mulay’s Sausage owner, Loree Mulay Weisman, explains the origins of her sausage business and how it transitioned into a full-time venture a few years ago during the latest episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast. Weisman lays out why the organic brand decided to expand into the national sausage marketplace. She also describes in detail why transparency and compensating the family farm producers is important to Mulay’s. Weisman also explains how the company uses Syracuse Sausage in Texas to co-pack their products. The company has some fulfillment and cold storage capabilities at its headquarters in Longmont, Colo. A system of distributors moves Mulay’s product line throughout the United States. Later, Weisman describes what it’s like having her family as part of the sausage development effort. She also shares advice on how others can find success in the sausage industry. Contributing editor Steve Krut featured Mulay’s Sausage in an article in the September 2021 issue of MEAT+POULTRY.
March 18, 2022
Plant Tours shares readiness for any meat plant
After working through pivots and changes over the last two years, Plant Tours is ready to accommodate all on-site business again. The company, which supplies tour guide headphones for manufacturing facilities, agricultural sites, and distribution centers, explained its place in the meat processing industry during the latest MEAT+POULTRY podcast. Rick Farrell, president of Plant Tours, described how the company has grown since 2005 and what it had to do since COVID-19 started adjusting its practices. He discussed how the company accommodates clients in the meat processing industry and how Plant Tours helps display their facilities. Later, Farrell explained his tenure at Plant Tours and what he’s learned about doing this work. More information about Plant Tours is available here.
March 04, 2022
How Stryve Foods is stepping up to the nutrition supplement space
KANSAS CITY, MO. – In August 2021, Plano, Texas-based Stryve Foods launched a line of premium supplements called Stryve Nutrition. Supplements may seem like a departure for a company known for its better-for-you portfolio of air-dried meat snacks, but for Stryve, the meat snacks are a natural progression to provide health-conscious consumers with high-quality supplements and snacks from a trusted brand. The new products include collagen protein powder, bone broth protein, pre-workout mixes and gummies – functional foods loaded with protein but without the stuff consumers say they don’t want such as GMOs, sugar, gluten, soy and dairy. Health and wellness always have been top-of-mind for consumers, but that focus only intensified during the last two years as the coronavirus pandemic held the world in its grip. But even as restrictions and mandates begin to loosen, consumer demand for healthy, better-for-you foods is here to stay and expected to grow alongside consumers’ desire for personalization and convenience. Stryve’s “better” brand evolution focuses on healthy eating and snacking, to support consumers’ growing focus on maintaining immune health and preventive measures against lifestyle and age-related ailments. The company is positioning the new collagen and bone broths as a complement to the portfolio of meat snacks that got Stryve noticed in 2017, when former National Football League player Gabe Carimi, Dymatize founder Ted Casey and Pro-Supps founder Joe Oblas launched the company. At the time, the brand started with snack bites, meat sticks and a little-known meat snack called biltong – an air-dried, cured and sliced beef protein snack with origins in South Africa. Biltong was ideal for American consumers wanting to increase their intake of lean protein with little to no carbohydrates, sugar, nitrates or other additives. Stryve entered the snacking scene at a time when the trend of consumers substituting snacks for main meals began to catch fire. Driven by a desire for convenience without sacrificing taste or nutritional value, consumers turned to meat snacks of all types and varying proteins. Stryve embarked on a growth streak that netted the company millions of dollars in funding which enabled its expansion through acquisitions. By 2021, Stryve had captured 85% market share of the air-dried meat business in the United States and established distribution agreements that added more than 4,000 additional retail locations to carry the company’s Stryve, Kalahari and Vacadillos meat snack brands. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Joe Oblas, co-chief executive officer and one of the original founders of Stryve, traces the company’s journey from primarily meat snack manufacturing to a purveyor of premium nutrition supplements, the company’s expectations for success and how Stryve will become the go-to brand for better nutrition and taste.
February 18, 2022
Ambassador Meats skates to its Minnesota origins
Ambassador Meats found a new place to showcase its Minnesota roots. The sausage and hot dog brand, which falls under the Land O’ Frost Inc. umbrella, recently became one of the main sponsors of the US Pond Hockey Championships held in late January in Minneapolis, Minn. For this MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Clint Yonkers, associate brand manager, discusses why the company chose this event to promote Ambassador. Yonkers explained Ambassador Meats’ product line as well as the basic information on distribution in the Upper Midwest. The Lansing, III. facility where Ambassador products are processed is a 150,000-square-foot plant that employs 285 people. The facility produces about 140,000 lbs per month. Yonkers also chronicled his career, from working in R&D and product formulation and most recently moving to brand management.
February 04, 2022
Future of cultivated meat
Cultured or cell-based meat continues to make progress toward entering the marketplace. With the rise of this meat alternative, the infrastructure that’s needed to bring the product to more people in the United States and around the world is also developing. That’s where Matrix Meats comes in. The Columbus, Ohio-based company, operated by co-founder and chief executive officer Eric Jenkusky, develops nanofiber scaffolding for growing cell-cultured meat items. Jenkusky describes his background in the military and in the defense contracting field and how Matrix Meats became part of his portfolio. He also discusses the application for his product and what he expects to see in the growing meat alternative space. Jenkusky then shares some of his thoughts on regulations on cultured meats and where the product will be in the next few years.
January 21, 2022
Northpoint Logistics navigates the global supply chain challenges
As 2022 begins, logistics and supply chain challenges remain in place throughout the United States and the world. Whether it’s the scenes at ports or the lack of truck drivers out on the highways, companies are looking for solutions to this ongoing issue. One place that continues to provide flexibility and insights for the meat industry is Northpoint Logistics, a Kansas City area company that focus on the supply chain. For this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Clint Rusch, president of Northpoint Logistics, and Kaitlin Rusbarsky, the managing director of international operations discuss their roles in logistics. During the discussion, Rusch and Rusbarsky explain the logistics and transports it provides to the meat industry. They also present how their company interacts with the meat supply chain worldwide. Next, they discuss complex problems faced in logistics management and how they try to solve them daily. Later in the conversation, Rusch and Rusbarsky talk about their career paths that led them to find a place in the logistics world.
January 07, 2022
Temple Grandin’s perspective on the evolution of animal welfare
When the focus of a special report for the meat and poultry processing industry is the evolution of animal welfare over the past century, which was the topic of MEAT+POULTRY’s December issue cover story, the primary source could only be Temple Grandin, PhD, professor of animal science at Colorado State University and an expert on animal behavior and humane livestock handling. Grandin has dedicated the last half century to improving the treatment of animals raised to supply the world’s meat and poultry processing industry with the raw material needed to produce their products. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, we sat down with Grandin and discussed how the treatment of animals has been a topic of discussion in society dating back to biblical times. She discussed how references in the Bible and even the Quran provided guidelines for humane treatment of animals. She also talked about how one early and significant tipping point that established the groundwork for the future of animal welfare was when neuroscientists confirmed that mammals had the capacity to experience human-like emotions, including fear. Grandin talked about how legislation in the 1950s began to address the issue, but meaningful changes in livestock handling in the United States came about decades later. She discussed a career path that saw her play the leading role in developing the animal welfare guidelines and auditing system that was first adopted by McDonald’s and later by all fast-food chains. She also discussed how the responsibility for animal welfare has since been embraced by the industry, from farm to fork resulting in dramatic changes in the mindset and practices of animal handlers in the food supply chain. Christmas Music by Alex_MakeMusic from Pixabay
December 17, 2021
AgNext, Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, takes a complete approach to sustainability
As 2021 comes to a close, one of the critical areas of the meat industry that continues to be a topic of conversation is sustainability. More trade groups and corporations have made moves this year to state their intentions on global sustainable development. For this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, director of AgNext at Colorado State Univ., discussed sustainability from multiple angles of the industry. In the last year, Stackhouse-Lawson took over the newly created research center that focuses on advancing animal agriculture and how to expand sustainable practices in the meat industry. Before accepting this position, Stackhouse-Lawson worked for four years as JBS USA’s sustainability director. During this podcast, she shares her perspective of working at JBS and improving practices at one of the largest meat companies in the US. Later, Stackhouse-Lawson explains the traits she looks for in a sustainable livestock system and in food systems in general. She also goes through some of her background on her career journey and why she feels like this is the place to achieve the greatest impact. For more information on AgNext visit their website here.
December 10, 2021
Supply chain challenges continue
Supply chain troubles are going to continue throughout the meat industry and the world heading into 2022. This reality has stakeholders throughout the agriculture supply chain grappling with contingency plans. So how will processors and producers deal with this? On this week’s episode of the MEAT+POULTRYpodcast, Cortney Cowley, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, explains why the shortages and chokepoints are happening in not only the meat industry but across the economy. Cowley discusses existing challenges for agriculture industry import and export markets. She also shares stories from her career at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and what she’s heard from bankers that could impact the meat industry.
December 03, 2021
Best Of: Putting together Costco’s personal supply
*This podcast was originally published on July 30 On this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, our Operations Executive of the Year, Walt Shafer, discusses some of the details of his latest success as chief operations officer at Costco owned Lincoln Premium Poultry in Fremont, Neb., Costco’s exclusive and fully integrated chicken supplier. Shafer begins with his preference to be on the floor of the facility as a plant manager and moves through his ownership of a chicken farm in Virginia and how that experience helped him impart confidence to Nebraska farmers who had never grown chickens. Shafer also talks about the first employee he hired, Jessica Kolterman, and the ways her expertise played a crucial role in navigating the politics necessary for the needed approvals on the Lincoln Premium project. Finally, we get a glimpse of the early vision of Lincoln Premium Poultry and how a partnership with Marel allowed that vision to come to fruition.
November 24, 2021
Prepping for Thanksgiving 2021
The price tag of Thanksgiving will be up in 2021. Recent US Bureau of Labor Statistics said that food prices at home are up 5.4% over the past 12 months. With inflation still a concern for Americans, putting that turkey on the table next week will not look the same as it has in recent years. Producers and processors were already dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the year, but fighting through this inflation is another challenge around the November holiday. On this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Beth Breeding, vice president of communications and marketing for the National Turkey Federation, discusses turkey production trends. Breeding describes how turkey farmers and producers tried to navigate the amount of turkey consumers were consuming during this COVID year and whether this is just a blip or the new normal. She also explains what the turkey industry faced during COVID-19 and how it’s adapted over 2020 and 2021.
November 19, 2021
Main Street Meats — Chattanooga’s neighborhood butcher shop
Chef Erik Niel says Main Street Meats began as a kernel of an idea that already existed. He and his wife Amanda Niel own and operate the butcher shop in addition to Easy Bistro & Bar, both in Chattanooga, Tenn. The award-winning chef’s culinary career spans 25 years. Although he attended the University of Texas at Austin to study psychology with a minor in business, food has always been his passion. He attended Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Vail, Colo. In 2005, after working in professional kitchens he and Amanda – both in their 20s – opened Easy Bistro & Bar in downtown Chattanooga. In 2014, the Niels took over Main Street Meats. Erik says, tongue firmly in cheek, that at age 35 he needed a new challenge that would push him out of his comfort zone. But he also believed in the business. “This was the one great chance for Chattanooga to have a local butcher,” he said. But how could he and his team of artisan butchers use old-school techniques to successfully run a combination contemporary butcher shop and restaurant to become Chattanooga’s neighborhood butcher shop? In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Chef Erik Niel explains how he and the Main Street Meats team did just that, and why whole-animal butchery is key to the shop’s current success and its future as a fixture in more neighborhoods across the southeast.
November 12, 2021
Miso Robotics automates the foodservice fry station
Flippy, the burger-turning robotic arm developed by Miso Robotics, now has the capability to conquer the fry station and the flat-top grill. The Pasadena, Calif.-based startup that designs and builds automated solutions for the foodservice industry announced upgrades to its flagship product, Flippy, and the launch of a new product line called Flippy Wings. Flippy 2 is the company’s next-generation product that is faster and more customizable than the original Flippy robotic arm. Among other enhancements, Flippy 2 features the AutoBin system for foods like onion rings or chicken tenders. Using artificial intelligence, the system identifies the food, picks it up, cooks it in the correct fry basket and places the food in the correct holding area. Flippy Wings includes the AutoBin system and is currently installed at the Inspire Brands Innovation Center in Atlanta, Ga. Inspire Brands is the parent company of Buffalo Wild Wings. Miso says Flippy Wings eventually will be installed at a standalone Buffalo Wild Wings location in 2022. In May, we spoke with Buck Jordan, co-founder, president and chairman of Miso Robotics about the potential for robotics to improve operating and working conditions in commercial kitchens. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Mike Bell, chief executive officer of Miso Robotics, gives more details about Flippy 2, Flippy wings, the company’s pilot projects with Inspire Brands and the financial support that allows the company to keep the innovations coming.
November 05, 2021
Duroc pig push from National Swine Registry
The duroc pigs are a key part of pork history in America. Looking around the industry now, many people might think of just white or pink pigs on farms but the red duroc is still holding strong in the US. That’s why Clay Zwilling, CEO of the National Swine Registry (NSR), is working to put more duroc on the map again with the launch of a certified pork-branded program. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Zwilling describes the start of this certification program. Plus, why the NSR will be making a push with this product soon. He then explains a little background of the duroc pigs and some of the best qualities farmers and producers looks for in this breed. After that, Zwilling jumps into how the NSR will help educate consumers on the duroc pigs and how accessible the products is for people. To finish up the podcast, Zwilling describes his role at the National Swine Registry and how it shaped his agricultural career. This podcast is sponsored by Anritsu. Anritsu offers leading-edge technology that’s trusted worldwide for superior product inspection and contaminant detection. Anritsu x-ray, checkweigher, metal detection, and combination systems deliver performance, reliability, and low total cost of ownership. Simply, Anritsu provides a level of precision, dependability and support that truly advances the quality of your products and efficiency of your operation You can learn more at anritsu.com/infivis
October 29, 2021
Brianna Buseman propels the next generation of meat scientists
Youth Meat Animal Extension Assistant Professor is not a common title we hear when thinking about meat education in the United States. As someone who started as a professor in 2020, Brianna Buseman has hit the ground running in her career at the University of Nebraska. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Buseman described why she wanted to make meat education her career and why Nebraska was the place she picked to start being a professor. She then explained her role in both youth outreach across Nebraska and how she works with established farm organizations to grow interest in animal science. Buseman also breaks down the basics of meat evaluation, grading and judging and how teaching those classes to the next generation of meat scientists has been an important part of career. Social media plays a crucial role in helping the university share information about meat education. Buseman explains how she uses platforms like Linkedin and Twitter in her messaging. In addition, she has her own podcast, the Meating Room, that covers issues of concern to the meat industry. Finally, Brianna discusses COVID-19, and what it’s been like taking on her first professorship during the pandemic. This podcast is sponsored by Anritsu Anritsu offers leading-edge technology that’s trusted worldwide for superior product inspection and contaminant detection. Anritsu x-ray, checkweigher, metal detection, and combination systems deliver performance, reliability, and low total cost of ownership. Simply, Anritsu provides a level of precision, dependability and support that truly advances the quality of your products and efficiency of your operation You can learn more at anritsu.com/infivis
October 22, 2021
Farmer Focus promotes poultry industry in Virginia
Farmer Focus, based in Harrisonburg, Va., wants people to think about the family farm when they buy their product. It’s that mission and intention that fuels Corwin Heatwole, president of Farmer Focus. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Heatwole describes how the idea for this poultry company and brand developed into an important lifeblood for the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Farmer Focus has also developed a Farm ID system for greater transparency in chicken. Later, Heatwole talks about the poultry processing aspect of his business and how the product demand continues to grow around the East coast. In addition, a major element of this business is how Farmer Focus has developed a network of independent farmers. The emphasis on family farms instills great pride in Heatwole and he hopes to continue to build a strong agricultural footprint for future generations of Virginians. This podcast is sponsored by Anritsu Anritsu offers leading-edge technology that’s trusted worldwide for superior product inspection and contaminant detection. Anritsu x-ray, checkweigher, metal detection, and combination systems deliver performance, reliability, and low total cost of ownership. Simply, Anritsu provides a level of precision, dependability and support that truly advances the quality of your products and efficiency of your operation You can learn more at anritsu.com/infivis
October 15, 2021
Resurrecting Feltman’s of Coney Island
Brothers Joe, Michael and Jimmy Quinn grew up in Brooklyn, NY, hearing all about Feltman’s of Coney Island. The iconic beachside eatery was founded in 1867, by Charles Feltman, a German baker and entrepreneur whose claim to fame was inventing the world’s first hot dog and selling them by the thousands to Brooklyn area beachgoers. Feltman died in 1910, but his legacy and his business was carried on by his family until it was forced to close in 1954. Having heard about the legend that was Feltman’s for decades, the brothers vowed to one day bring Feltman’s of Coney Island back from the ashes to its rightful place as a viable brand in Brooklyn and beyond. That dream was initially shattered after Jimmy Quinn tragically died when the World Trade Center office he was working in was destroyed by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. To honor their youngest brother, Joe and Michael resurrected the Feltman’s brand in 2015. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRYPodcast, Joe Quinn talks about the history of Feltman’s and how it captured the hearts and appetites of his family and became a labor of love he and his brother relentlessly pursued. Since reviving Feltman’s, the brothers have seen it emerge as the fastest-growing hot dog company in the country, carried by more than 300 Whole Foods Markets, more than 1,100 Publix grocery stores and with online sales that have grown exponentially each year. Joe also discusses the company’s new bacon offering and how this was the next logical step in extending Feltman’s growing product line. Joe tells an inspirational story of the two food entrepreneurs motivated by a shared commitment to tradition and honor. This podcast is sponsored by Anritsu Anritsu offers leading-edge technology that’s trusted worldwide for superior product inspection and contaminant detection. Anritsu x-ray, checkweigher, metal detection, and combination systems deliver performance, reliability, and low total cost of ownership. Simply, Anritsu provides a level of precision, dependability and support that truly advances the quality of your products and efficiency of your operation You can learn more at anritsu.com/infivis
October 08, 2021
Superior Farms exec shares latest lamb trends
The COVID pandemic has been a challenging time for the meat and poultry industry, but for Sacramento, Calif.-based Superior Farms it was a time of unexpected sales increases. When the pandemic hit 18 months ago, and foodservice sales immediately plummeted, Superior Farms feared what it could mean to its bottom line, as almost half of the company’s sales came from foodservice customers. However, the lamb market experienced a dramatic uptick in retail sales and Superior Farms gained a number of new lamb consumers. “We saw incredibly strong retail demand that went throughout the pandemic,” said Anders Hemphill, vice president of marketing and brand strategy for Superior Farms. “A lot of consumers who were buying lamb weren’t the typical lamb shoppers.” On this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Hemphill explains how Superior Farms was able to persevere through the COVID pandemic following necessary adjustments in processing practices and supply chain distribution. Hemphill shares his insights on the challenges the lamb and the entire livestock market are facing now and how things will fare for the remainder of 2021 and into 2022. Hemphill also explains Superior Farms’ investments in solar and wind power, designed to make more of its facilities sustainable for the future. Since joining the company in 2014, Hemphill’s career has been all about lamb. He shares how he transitioned his marketing career to working with Superior Farms, and what he’s learned along the way. This podcast is sponsored by Anritsu Anritsu offers leading-edge technology that’s trusted worldwide for superior product inspection and contaminant detection. Anritsu x-ray, checkweigher, metal detection, and combination systems deliver performance, reliability, and low total cost of ownership. Simply, Anritsu provides a level of precision, dependability and support that truly advances the quality of your products and efficiency of your operation You can learn more at anritsu.com/infivis
October 01, 2021
Delivering the message of safe food handling
Consumer engagement with food delivery services surged during the pandemic. The NPD Group, Chicago, found that consumers increased their capacity for preparing meals at home, aided by a host of new appliances and gadgets in the kitchen. And as consumers return to school and work, portable on-the-go options or restaurant meals will regain some importance. But meals away from home won’t completely supplant at-home meal preparation. So even as more individuals return to their pre-pandemic routines the trend of eating meals at home is expected to continue and with it, the need for education surrounding safe handling of food prepared in the home or delivered by a foodservice operator, meal kit provider or retail grocery store. In response to the rapid growth of delivered meals at home, and on the occasion of September being Food Safety Education Month, the Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE) developed a program with print and digital resources for delivery service providers of all types to share with their customers. This week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast features Steven Mandernach, executive director of the Association of Food and Drug Officials and a member of the PFSE board of directors. He explains why education around safe handling of food deliveries is so important in a post-pandemic era, and what takeaways the partnership gleaned from consumer tests of the program called Prep Yourself.
September 24, 2021
Mindy Brashears on going from academia to DC, and back again
Mindy Brashears, PhD, has spent the majority of her career in academia – first as a faculty member and extension specialist at the University of Nebraska and later at Texas Tech University as an assistant, associate and later full professor of food science. She has devoted her career to studying food science and training the next generation of food scientists along the way. But during the last presidential administration, Brashears took off her academic hat to answer an unexpected call from Washington. She was invited to take on the role of undersecretary of food safety for the US Department of Agriculture. “My primary job was to go in, as a scientist, and make sure that decisions being made were science-based and data-driven. That was my charge; that was my objective from day one,” she said. During this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Brashears shares stories from her days in Washington – from finalizing swine modernization and egg modernization to helping the nation’s meat packing industry navigate the COVID pandemic as it unfolded in early 2020. After the Biden administration took over, Brashears returned to the world of education, now as a professor at Texas Tech and vice president of research at the university. In addition to teaching and mentoring tomorrow’s scientific leaders, she is working to use what she learned in Washington to bridge the gap between government, industry and academia.
September 17, 2021
PMMI, Pack Expo Las Vegas readies for convention
Following its virtual convention last year, Pack Expo Las Vegas is ready to return Sept. 27-29. With an anticipated 1,500 exhibitors and more than 20,000 attendees Pack Expo had to put in place all the proper protocols in order to hold a safe event. To get the background on all that preparation MEAT+POULTRY talked with Laura Thompson, vice president of trade shows at PMMI. Thompson describes the new programs and educational sessions that are available to attendees in Vegas and the plans that went into that. After that, Thompson explained what people can expect from the Processing Zone a new pavilion that will be available and its Pack to the Future exhibit. Thompson then talks about her role with Pack Expo and how she’s had to adapt constantly since pandemic started. Finally, listen for how meat and poultry processors can listen in on various types of packaging and come up with new ideas for their own companies. For more details on the PackExpo Las Vegas visit the website here.
September 10, 2021
Southwest Meat Association shares success of in-person summer convention
After planning for both in-person and virtual conventions last year, the Southwest Meat Association (SMA) was able to hold its 2021 convention in person in late July in Round Rock, Texas. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Joe Harris, president and chief executive officer of SMA, explains the differences in this year’s in-person event and previous conventions and how this year’s show exceeded expectations. Next, he shared the background of the convention and suppliers showcase and how it’s evolved over the years. Harris explained some of the major concerns his members have going into the future, including COVID-19, supply chain logistics, workplace issues and fluctuating commodity prices. Finally, Harris described what the Southwest Meat Association is planning for the rest of 2021 including plans to visit members and organize its February conference.
September 03, 2021
Podcast: US agencies on guard against African swine fever
It’s been three weeks since the Dominican Republic reported an outbreak of African swine fever, the first such report in the Western Hemisphere in 40 years. The government’s Official Commission for the Eradication of African Swine Fever reported Aug. 25 that there are 15 affected provinces and four are under suspicion of having infected swine. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) continues to assist the Dominican Republic with testing support. And US Customs and Border Protection has stepped up inspections and surveillance of people and cargo moving between the United States, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Rosemary Sifford, Deputy Administrator for veterinary services at APHIS, and John Sagle, deputy executive director at CBP, shared details of these activities during a webinar hosted by the National Pork Board.
August 27, 2021
Raider Red Meats rolls on
Raider Red Meats in Lubbock, Texas, gives the students of Texas Tech University one of the most hands-on college experiences for those trying to break into the meat business. The on-campus retail location takes students through every aspect of processing and selling retail to customers on campus and around their community. In this podcast episode, MEAT+POULTRY talked with Tate Corliss, director of Raider Red Meats, and Kiersten Atkinson, sales manager for the business. The two described what it’s been like running an essential business on a college campus and how the students embraced the struggles of the last 18 months. They shared some of the popular meat products produced for the store and how some of them have been invented by Texas Tech alumni over the years. And, later described the facility that the Department of Animal & Food Sciences at Texas Tech uses to teach their students meat processing on the job. Corliss and Atkinson also explained how Raider Red Meats has built relationships with meat companies in Texas to help students get high-quality jobs in the meat industry right out of college.
August 20, 2021
Porter Road Butcher Shop opens new processing facility
On this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Chris Carter, co-founder and chief executive officer of Porter Road Butcher Shop in Nashville, Tenn. shares the company’s mission and talks about its new facility in Princeton, Ky. The story of how the new facility came about is an interesting one. What began as the solution to an immediate problem evolved into an opportunity for Porter Road to expand its processing capabilities and move closer to its ultimate goal. Listen as Carter details Porter Road’s next steps on its journey into the future.
August 13, 2021
Playin’ it safe
In the second in a series of articles commemorating MEAT+POULTRY's publisher Sosland Publishing Company’s 100th anniversary we look back at the industry’s evolving efforts and bright future as stakeholders work to improve worker safety and food safety. Listen to the full story in this week’s podcast which was written by Features Editor Bob Sims.
August 06, 2021
Podcast: Putting together Costco’s personal supply
On this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, our Operations Executive of the Year, Walt Shafer, discusses some of the details of his latest success as chief operations officer at Costco owned Lincoln Premium Poultry in Fremont, Neb., Costco’s exclusive and fully integrated chicken supplier. Shafer begins with his preference to be on the floor of the facility as a plant manager and moves through his ownership of a chicken farm in Virginia and how that experience helped him impart confidence to Nebraska farmers who had never grown chickens. Shafer also talks about the first employee he hired, Jessica Kolterman, and the ways her expertise played a crucial role in navigating the politics necessary for the needed approvals on the Lincoln Premium project. Finally, we get a glimpse of the early vision of Lincoln Premium Poultry and how a partnership with Marel allowed that vision to come to fruition.
July 30, 2021
NAMI shows its support for National Hot Dog Month
July, the month that features National Hot Dog Month and Day, is the perfect time to catch up with some familiar voices in the beef and frank industry. This week’s MEAT+POULTRYPodcast hosted Eric Mittenthal, president of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council and the vice president of sustainability at the North American Meat Institute (NAMI). The conversation starts with Mittenthal discussing how the organization plans to celebrate hot dog season at the time when it usually hosts the Annual Hot Dog Lunch in Washington, DC. Mittenthal also shares stories from NAMI’s hot dog ambassadorship program and how the organization is promoting meat throughout the summer, including utilizing more social media posts, including on Tik Tok, to share their messages with a younger audience. Later, he discusses how hot dogs and other meats have retained their spots as comfort foods over the last year. Finally, Mittenthal mentions NAMI’s new sustainability framework for continuous improvement in the industry. More information about the inititiave can be found at theproteinpact.org.
July 23, 2021
The Proposition 12 Problem
In June, the US Supreme Court denied, without comment, the North American Meat Institute’s petition to review its appeal challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 12, California’s animal confinement law that will go into force in 2022. The Institute vowed to keep up the fight against the law and began consulting its members as to next steps the industry should take. The high court has declined to settle this issue, so what lies ahead for producers? Is there still time for producers to comply? MEAT+POULTRY caught up with Christine McCracken, senior analyst-Animal Protein at Rabobank, and Jeff Tripician, president of Perdue Meat Co., which owns Coleman Natural pork brand, to get some insights into the opportunities and challenges of complying with California’s Prop 12.
July 16, 2021
AAMP outreach specialist explains next steps for companies in 2021
As it gears up for its annual convention in Oklahoma City, it is always a good reminder that the American Association of Meat Processors continues to serve the small and medium-size meat business in the United States. AAMP members continued to adapt to health and safety protocols throughout the pandemic and precautions and recommendations changed. So, what will these businesses have to do in the next step of COVID during 2021? For some thoughts on industry, the MEAT+POULTRYpodcast chatted with AAMP outreach specialist Nelson Gaydos. Gaydos details how companies are starting to find technology solutions to ramp production back up and keep processing lines moving. Later, Gaydos discussed the challenges of figuring out how to educate members during the pandemic and what they can take from it to improve the continued learning in the future. He describes what overall thoughts the industry can take away from 2020. Don’t miss the annual AAMP Convention which will be held in July 15-17.
July 09, 2021
Growing forward with Wholestone Farms
It’s not often that a food manufacturing company announces plans to build a $500 million facility, but that’s what Fremont, Nebraska-based Wholestone Farms did in June. The producer-owned pork processor is expanding operations into Sioux Falls, South Dakota on land located near Interstate 229 and within an industrial park. The state-of-the-art pork harvest and processing facility will initially employ more than 1,100 people. Wholestone Farms was established in 2018 to create and capture value in the pork supply chain for its 200 members who are independent family farmers raising livestock and crops in the upper Midwest. The producer-owners collectively farm nearly 400,000 acres of cropland and raise 12 million pigs annually. Wholestone operates a pork processing facility in Fremont, Nebraska. Scott Webb, chief executive officer of Wholestone, said that facility currently is a one shift operation processing three million hogs a year. The plan is to double-shift the planned Fremont facility and raise production to about six million head – but that leaves a gap the company is looking to fill with processing capacity in Sioux Falls. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY process, Webb shared more details about the proposed facility and how it symbolizes the producer-owners’ commitment to bringing the consumer closer to the farmer.
July 02, 2021
What to take away from the JBS cyberattack
The JBS cyberattack that occurred in late May and was resolved in early June garnered national attention well outside the agriculture news channels. Following the SolarWinds, Colonial Pipeline, and now the recent JBS cyberattack, cybersecurity has been headlining the news around the country the last few weeks. With cybersecurity concerns top of mind, the MEAT+POULTRY podcast invited John Hoffman, senior research fellow at the Food Protection and Defense Institute at the University of Minnesota, to discuss the topic.
June 25, 2021
Unleashing innovation in pet food, treat manufacturing
While the pet food industry and meat and poultry processing industry are not mirror images of each other operationally, there are enough similarities to consider them kissing cousins at the very least. With companies such as Cargill, Pilgrim’s Pride, Simmons Foods and Tyson Foods all dedicating considerable resources and raw materials to the pet food and pet treat segment, the overlap in the two industry segments is the premise for this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast. About three years ago, after recognizing the meteoric growth in the US pet products industry, which is estimated at $100 billion with pet food and treats making up more than 40% of those revenues, Sosland Publishing, parent company of MEAT+POULTRY, launched Pet Food Processing in 2018 with Jennifer Semple as its editor. The new publication filled an information void in the industry by focusing its coverage on food safety issues, processing and ingredient technologies and consumer trends in pet food and pet treat production. In this week’s podcast, Semple discussed the genesis of the magazine, its growth in the past four years and the similarities between pet food processing and traditional meat and poultry processing, not only in their operations but in how their products reflect the evolving markets they serve. She also discussed trends in the industry, how COVID-19 impacted the industry and her reflections after touring many plants where pet food and treats are manufactured.
June 17, 2021
North Country Smokehouse goes west
North Country Smokehouse of Claremont, NH, endured the difficulties during the early months of the pandemic and now sees its brand growing throughout the United States as the next step. With a vertically integrated system, the company can handle and control many of the supply and demand issues that challenged other companies. That led to growth in its organic bacon business throughout 2021. The subjects of this episode of the MEAT+POULTRYpodcast were Mike Kelly, vice president of business development, and Aaron Corbett, chief executive officer of North Country Smokehouse The two executives explained how its Canadian parent company, duBreton, kept its pork supply moving across the US border during the pandemic. Then, Kelly and Corbett discussed some of the strategies used to expand product distribution to the West Coast and how e-commerce has grown North Country’s business.
June 11, 2021
World Pork Expo 2021 is a go
Many conferences and conventions lost a year at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic but very few lost two. However, that was the case for the World Pork Expo. After shutting its doors in 2019 due to concerns about African swine fever in Asia, and then canceling its 2020 event due to the pandemic, the World Pork Expo is now set to hold its event, in person, from June 9 to 11 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. The event, sponsored by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), will consist of a trade show, educational seminars, industry updates and opportunities for networking. The guest on this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast is Doug Fricke, director of trade show marketing at the NPPC and the World Pork Expo. Fricke described the steps that World Pork Expo organizers took to get the in-person event off the ground and how new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines were implemented to ensure the safety of all attendees and participants. He also outlined how international companies, many of which are still deciding on whether or not to travel, will be able to interact with and participate in the World Pork Expo. Fricke also explained how he handled the last two years of preparing for events and how COVID-19 will affect trade shows going forward.
June 04, 2021
Robots to the rescue
Leveraging the power of artificial intelligence, Pasadena, Calif.-based Miso Robotics develops technologies to help foodservice operators cook food consistently, improve working conditions in restaurant and commercial kitchens, reduce costs and drive profitability. Its signature product is Flippy, an autonomous kitchen assistant that caught the eye of White Castle Inc., an early adopter of the technology. Miso Robotics has seen a significant uptick in inquiries about the company’s robotics and software, and in this episode of the MEAT+POULTRYPodcast, we spoke to Buck Jordan, co-founder, president and chairman of Miso Robotics to speak about the potential of automation to improve working conditions in commercial kitchens, food safety and the company’s most-recent innovations — ROAR, Robot-on-a-Rail technology, and CookRight, its standalone software as a service (SaaS) offering.
May 28, 2021
Robots to the rescue
Leveraging the power of artificial intelligence, Pasadena, Calif.-based Miso Robotics develops technologies to help foodservice operators cook food consistently, improve working conditions in restaurant and commercial kitchens, reduce costs and drive profitability. Its signature product is Flippy, an autonomous kitchen assistant that caught the eye of White Castle Inc., an early adopter of the technology. Miso Robotics has seen a significant uptick in inquiries about the company’s robotics and software, and in this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, we spoke to Buck Jordan, co-founder, president and chairman of Miso Robotics to speak about the potential of automation to improve working conditions in commercial kitchens, food safety and the company’s most-recent innovations — ROAR, Robot-on-a-Rail technology, and CookRight, its standalone software as a service (SaaS) offering.
May 28, 2021
Manufacturing Institute’s AJ Jorgenson shares steps toward becoming a more diverse workplace
Diversity, equity and inclusion is becoming a common phrase heard around the country – socially, professionally and politically. While the push to bring equity and diversity to the workplace isn’t a new concept, events over the past year have brought many social issues to the foreground and companies and corporations are taking inventory to assess where they are when it comes to diversity and equity and where they need to be. During the mid-April virtual Meat Industry Summit, hosted by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), the topic of diversity and inclusion in the manufacturing and processing industries was discussed. AJ Jorgenson, vice president of strategic program engagement at the Manufacturing Institute, presented ideas on how to “create diverse and inclusive workplaces” and the benefits that employees and employers can gain from creating such an environment. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Jorgenson explains what diversity, equity and inclusion mean, what steps companies can take to start changing their workforces, and why making changes is important for large and small companies. Jorgenson explained, “You want different gender representation and different perspectives. You want racial inclusion. The more diversity you have, the more innovative you can be. You’re not all thinking the same, you’re not all acting the same. You don’t all have the same experiences. Which is not only a benefit to the workforce but also a benefit, oftentimes, to your bottom line.”
May 21, 2021
Beef has reprised its role as the bad guy in the ongoing battle against climate change, apparently. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, total emissions from global livestock per year represent 14.5% of all “anthropogenic GHG emissions,”. The FAO also said cattle is the animal species responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions representing about 65% of the livestock sector’s emissions.” Armed with these statistics, and a mission to make cooking more environmentally friendly, leading voices in the culinary space are speaking out against meat consumption. Most recently, editors at Epicurious, a popular website for recipes and culinary inspiration, announced plans to cease publishing recipes including beef as an ingredient. Existing recipes will remain, but no new beef recipes going forward. In fact, Epicurious had been phasing out beef recipes for over a year. But meat, and beef especially, gained in popularity among consumers during the pandemic. So, faced with burgeoning consumer demand on one hand, and popular culture pushing a mostly meatless message on the other, what say the people whose livelihood is raising cattle? Some beef producers say the current conversation excludes ranchers that believe cattle can be part of the solution to climate change though improved land stewardship. We spoke with Nadine Rich, marketing director at Teton Waters Ranch, to learn more about how cattle ranchers are working with nature, not against it, through humane animal husbandry and regenerative agriculture practices.
May 14, 2021
Baldor expert describes the state of meat distribution
Deciphering the evolving supply chain continues to be a balancing act for meat and poultry processors as the pandemic’s threat shows signs of ebbing and consumers begin transitioning to pre-COVID-19 purchasing and eating habits. According to a market specialist at Bronx, NY-based Baldor Specialty Foods, transparency and effective communication with customers is key during this period. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Baldor’s meat and poultry expert, Sophie Mellet-Grinnell, talked about how the company is meeting the changing needs of customers as foodservice traffic has shown signs of improvement going into summer and how that affects product flow.
May 07, 2021
MEAT+POULTRY Editor Joel Crews talks with Certified Piedmontese’s Billy Swain on the growing demand for premium beef without the marbling.
April 30, 2021
Rabobank’s Dustin Aherin describes opportunities, challenges in today’s meat industry
Meat industry stakeholders are all too aware of this past year’s market volatility due to COVID-19, but there were and continue to be other factors at play too. For this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Dustin Aherin, animal protein analyst of Rabobank AgriFinance, discussed the meat and poultry markets – past, present and future. First, Aherin touched on how consumers are spending their latest stimulus money and how it could affect the meat market at foodservice and retail. Aherin also talked about how export markets and the supply chain are faring as the threat of the pandemic began to wane. He discussed China’s emergence as a major exporter and how the United States is balancing beef and pork exports to certain countries around the world. Finally, Aherin discussed what goes into his job as an animal protein analyst.
April 23, 2021
Sosland Publishing Company’s coverage of the food industry started out focusing on the grain, flour milling and baking industries for the first 50 years after its founding in 1922. During that same era, the meat-processing industry began a government-mandated transition away from being dominated by a handful of companies that developed an integrated infrastructure that made it almost impossible for outside cattle producers, feedlot operators, livestock transporters or processors to survive unless they were part of what was then, an insurmountable machine. There has always been an important link between the grain industries and commercial livestock production as feed quality and availability determines price, which is passed on to meat processors and the quality, availability and price they could demand for products on the market. A century ago, and still today, the constant has been the meat and poultry processing system’s reliance on grain-based feed to finish and sustain the herds and flocks needed to produce food for a dynamic, growing and migrating population. What has changed and continues evolving are the names in the game today versus 100 years ago. Few if any of the pioneering companies, brands or descendants of the industry’s legendary leaders of 100 years ago are relevant or involved in today’s industry, evidence of the constant evolution and change that has made meat and poultry processing’s history a long and winding road dotted with plenty of peaks and valleys. Volatility has been a constant challenge for the meat processing industry as it has been for all segments of the food supply chain. Factors ranging from weather to labor issues to regulatory compliance to economic instability to international relations can have profound impacts on the degree of business success or failure any segment might experience. Since Sosland’s founding, the company has expanded its portfolio of publications and websites to include a wider swath of food and beverage industries, including commercial and retail baking, global grain, meat and poultry, pet food, dairy and the supermarket perimeter. Looking closer at some of the names and companies that were prominent in the meat industry from a century ago sheds light on how the pieces complete the puzzle that is today’s industry. To read the rest of the century of innovations click on the link here.
April 16, 2021
Chicago Steak Co. leans into e-commerce
E-commerce sales continue to grow as more people are interested in ordering food online. For some retail shoppers loading up a cart at the grocery store with everything needed is no longer the norm. In the last year, more consumers have become comfortable with perishable items being delivered straight to their door. During this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, the company’s owner Matt Crowley explains how Chicago Steak has grown since 2007 and what it had to do to keep up with online orders during the first stretch of the COVID-19 pandemic. Crowley also discusses how Chicago Steak sources its USDA Prime products to ship for customers. Next, he dives into the ways the company reaches current and potential customers and how he hopes to grow the business in the future. One way is Chicago Steaks’ commitment to customer education with its Steak University section of its website. Its online resources give all the information and videos customers need to prepare and cook the steaks and other cuts of meat the company offers.
April 09, 2021
Cargill beefs up on sustainability
During the Annual Meat Conference, tackling sustainability was one of the topics we heard a lot about in many sessions Each company takes different tactics to accomplish sustainable goals but many take their cues from corporations like Cargill. For this episode of the podcast, we wanted to talk with Heather Tansey, Cargill’s sustainability director for animal protein on what the company is doing to work on its long-term plan of sustainability. Tansey discussed how Cargill comes up with its goals and targets for its sector of the industry. She then dives into the focus of sustainability in the industry and what Cargill is doing to set its standard for the future. Cargill also continues to work on the BeefUp Sustainability initiative and its efforts to combat food waste. Next, Tansey laid out some of the projects the company is working on including the grassland restoration throughout the west part of the United States and Canada. Another item touched on is Cargill’s ability to watch sustainability throughout its supply chain since it’s a large corporation.
April 02, 2021
Jason McAlister shares his passion for livestock care
Jason McAlister subscribes to the adage: “There is no end to education.” McAlister, who has worked around livestock every day for most of his career and has worked in animal welfare management roles since 1993, with companies such as IBP/Tyson and Triumph Foods, spends most of his time “teaching the craft to others.” He claims to never stop learning and is humble enough to never call himself an “expert.” A passion for teaching and learning about animal welfare is what led McAlister to co-found CloverLeaf Animal Welfare Systems, based in St. Joseph, Mo. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast McAlister talks about the start-up and the challenges it faced almost immediately. He said what started as a small consultancy focused on working with smaller livestock operations in 2017, ramped up in January 2020. With a business plan to lead a diverse team of educators and leaders in the arena of animal welfare and expand its training to operations outside the United States, with on-site training at livestock processing facilities in South America and Central America, McAlister was confident the company would be a success. However, 2020 soon became a challenge for all businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe. Like every other company, CloverLeaf pivoted to survive the pandemic. McAlister initially developed a series of virtual training sessions along with animal welfare expert Temple Grandin, PhD, professor of animal science at Colorado State University. McAlister’s story of how his program has evolved and grown during the most unlikely circumstances this past year is informative and inspiring. McAlister’s passion for teaching and learning and his ability to persevere is a classic case of making lemonade in the lemon of a year that was 2020.
March 26, 2021
Keeping animal farming sustainable for future generations
Agriculture research business DSM Animal Nutrition and Health is seeking solutions for antimicrobial resistance and controlling animal emissions for years to come. The group is focused on improving sustainability throughout the food supply chain. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Christie Chavis, vice president of animal nutrition specialties business for DSM Animal Nutrition and Health, discussed some of the positive changes that are evident in animal agriculture, including in the meat industry. Chavis explained some of the measures many meat companies are taking to reach sustainability goals set for 2050. She also discussed how DSM is playing a role in moving the conversation forward by helping improve the gut health of animals. Chavis also addressed progress being made in the poultry industry. It is a conversation on how animal nutrition will continue to play a role in sustainability for generations to come.
March 22, 2021
Ozlem Worpel on Tyson Fresh Meats' trends for 2021
For Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., identifying future food and flavor trends remains a future. Ozlem Worpel, the director of fresh meats marketing, takes pride in discerning between fads and long-term trends in meat consumption in the United States. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Worpel laid out how Tyson identifies new cuisines that consumers are starting to try, including Korean barbecue and Middle Eastern cuisines and how regionalized trends continue, such as Mexican cuisine. Worpel also highlighted some additional foodservice trends including how takeout will become a major part of diners’ lives even after the pandemic, adding underutilized beef and pork cuts to menus and how more convenient and customizable options will be available for consumers in the future. Click here for all the trends for Tyson Fresh Meats foodservice trends.
March 12, 2021
Bone broth and beyond
Boston-based Five Way Foods manufactures premium beef, chicken and fish bone broths — in addition to a vegetable option — using locally sourced bones, vegetables and herbs. The broths are slow simmered for hours in order to extract vitamins and minerals. John Hopkins, founder of Five Way Foods, seized on the bone broth moment about five years ago. He was building his culinary skills in his home kitchen, cooking meals for his family. His youngest son had food allergies, so it was crucial that he pay strict attention to ingredients; whole foods were always on the menu — except when it came to broth. As his skill level in the kitchen continued to improve and he was using better cuts of meat and other ingredients, he started to ask himself, “Why am I getting a great piece of meat, locally sourced vegetables and other things, and then taking a carton of broth that’s probably been in my cabinet for weeks or months and then pouring it into that dish?” Five Way Foods was born out of that experience. The company was on the way to establishing a comfortable niche in farmers markets, Whole Foods stores and some foodservice operations; but then came the global pandemic. This episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast is a profile of Five Way Foods, how Hopkins started the company, where he thinks it’s headed and how its flagship product reflects his values about community, sustainability, stewardship and good health.
March 05, 2021
Zweigle’s carries its legacy through five generations
Running a family business can be a blessing and a curse. Carrying on the legacy by leading the family’s business provides opportunities for family members to shine, but can also mean unexpected pressures, challenges and responsibilities for those in charge. This week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, features an interview with Julie Camardo, chief executive officer of Zweigle’s, in Rochester, NY. Zweigle’s is a family-owned hot dog and sausage company that started in 1880 at the corner of Joseph Avenue and Kelly Street in downtown Rochester. Handed down for five generations, the company is still a Rochester mainstay today. The company’s portfolio of products, which started with Old World traditional German sausages, now includes a wide range of beef and pork hot dogs; sausage varieties including German and Polish and a line of chicken sausage; deli products, fully cooked chicken strips and meatballs; and a recently added line of breakfast sausage links and patties. Camardo took over as president of Zweigle’s in 2009 when her mother Roberta passed away, and she became CEO of the company in 2015. As the fifth generation of her family to run the hot dog company, and the second woman in her family to hold an executive role, Camardo has always kept a close eye on her heritage and credits her success, and that of her family’s business, to the many family members – including many notable women – who came before her. “I am so proud of this 140-year-old business,” Camardo said. “I’m proud to be able to continue the legacy, not only as a multi-generational family business, but also as a woman-owned business. And I truly believe all the women that came before me would be very proud of where we are today.” Read more about Zweigle’s in the February issue of MEAT+POULTRY.
February 26, 2021
Rashad Jones on Kingsford ‘Preserve the Pit’
On this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, we talk to Rashad Jones, star of the Food Network’s, Eat, Sleep, BBQ and owner operator of Big Lee’s Barbeque in Ocala, Flordia, about Kingsford’s “Preserve the Pit” program. Preserve the Pit is a fellowship program that matches mentors from the African American barbecue business world with its next generation of barbecue entrepreneurs to preserve the culture and history of African American barbecue and invest in its future. Rashad is a mentor in the program and his passion shows when he talks about what barbecue means to him, personally, the things he wants to impart to the fellows of the program, what it’s been like working with Kingsford and the mentor network.
February 19, 2021
The R&D of plant-based foods
On the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, research and development advances are always on the radar. For this episode, the subject of R&D is Motif Food Works, an ingredient company in Boston who works on developing products and ingredients with the properties of meat and replicating them in plant-based foods. Mike Leonard, chief technology officer for Motif and veteran food scientist describes the progress plant-based ingredients for meat alternatives have seen during the pandemic with the company. Leonard examines plant-based foods' development over the past few years and how consumers have started to try more of those products. He also discusses the challenges Motif takes on by trying to make plant-based foods that mimic traditional meat products' taste and texture with its ingredients. Later, Leonard describes how research and development worked for the company during COVID-19 and how its new research and development office fits into its future plans.
February 12, 2021
John Butler on growing Progressive Beef program
The Progressive Beef Program from Manhattan, Kan.-based Beef Marketing Group continues to grow as consumers and feedlot operators alike want more information on where their meat comes from in the supply chain. MEAT+POULTRY covered this collective when it launched in 2018, but after recent news that Wendy’s will soon source 40% of its beef from the Progressive Beef program, an update on the cattle management and sustainability initiative was warranted. The MEAT+POULTRY Podcast guest for this week is John Butler, chief executive officer of Progressive Beef. He explains why the collective continues to see high interest in the industry. Butler addresses the basics of the Progressive Beef Program and the auditing process to get a feedlot certified with their standards. He also details what parts of the United States have adopted the program and the benefits it offers feeders and beef processing companies. Butler also recaps his career path leading up to Progressive Beef and the goals he hopes to accomplish in the future.
February 05, 2021
Family Business Focus advice with Craig Aronoff
There are plenty of good reasons for making a successful business start-up a family affair but passing the torch from one generation to the next without careful planning can have ripple effects that strain relationships and impact the bottom line. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRYpodcast, Craig Aronoff, PhD, co-founder and senior advisor with The Family Business Consulting Group, based in Chicago, talks about the pros and potential cons of bringing family members into a business. Often, having the same last name as the founder of a company isn’t enough to warrant bringing the founder’s relatives into the business. “It works best when you simply recognize that a business is a business and that is a different thing than a family,” Aronoff said. A family member joining a family business is often more likely to be successful if the incoming spouse, son, daughter or brother brings value to the company, which includes having some other work and life experience and, ideally a college education. Aronoff recommends family members not only work for another company first but earn at least two promotions to give them credibility before coming back to the family business. Aronoff also discussed the importance of establishing ownership of the company for incoming family members. Agreed upon responsibilities of owners need to be clear to management, board members and other owners in the family business, whether they are within the family or outside owners. Especially in companies that have multiple owners, a board of directors can play an important role in holding owners accountable. Boards can also help ensure more seamless leadership succession, career advancement and adherence to shareholders agreements, Aronoff said. These issues become more complex the bigger and more successful a business becomes. “As I’ve said many times, family businesses are complicated,” Aronoff said.
January 29, 2021
IPPE 2021 Preview with Nath Morris
Finding the right format to hold virtual conferences has been a trial-and-error process for the meat and poultry industry during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Nath Morris, executive vice president of IPPE, felt its new marketplace would be the most effective way for processors and customers to learn more about their products during the 2021 event which will be held from Jan. 25-29. In this episode of the podcast, Morris takes us through the decision-making process IPPE went through to arrive at the decision not to hold an in-person event. Morris estimated that around 30,000 past IPPE attendees and prospects will be able to connect during the online marketplace. He also explains how the IPPE Marketplace gives companies a chance to connect as they would have done in Atlanta. It is not the same as in person, but Morris believes that this on-demand, flexible platform is the next best alternative. Morris clarifies some of the logistics of getting the Marketplace set up and details how IPPE is handling educational programming and the college student program at this year’s online expo. Click here for the IPPE Marketplace.
January 22, 2021
Seeking recent trends in barbecue
As part of his job working as a corporate chef for Oak Creek, Wis.-based Asenzya, Chef Dax Schaefer spends much of his time in the field, tasting his way through today’s popular foods and identifying what are likely to be the food trends of tomorrow. In the second part of the interview with Schaefer for the MEAT+POULTRYPodcast, he talks about his passion for barbecue, which is a category he has found to be a perennial culinary trend and one that varies depending on location. The chef discussed the differences in barbecue that are not only diverse in different parts of the United States but across the globe. He talked about the five US regions and what distinguishes them but also the species, cooking techniques and ingredients used by barbecue cooks around the world. Foodies and barbecue junkies alike will enjoy Chef Schaefer’s stories of his pursuit of the greatest barbecue in the country, which has allowed him to visit up to 150 restaurants featuring low-and-slow cuisine. To hear more about the chef’s background and his development as a food trend seeker, check out Part 1 of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast from last week.
January 15, 2021
Culinary trend seeker
For Dax Schafer, corporate chef with Asenzya, Oak Creek, Wis., developing custom spice blends and functional ingredients is just one function of his role which includes working with commercial food companies and chefs in the foodservice segment.
January 08, 2021
How the Netherlands meat industry dealt with 2020
As director of International Affairs for the Dutch Meat Industry Association, Frans van Dongen spent much of his time traveling and advocating on behalf of meat producers in the Netherlands. But the pandemic threw a big wrench in all of his flight plans. If asked, he will say that all of the hours he spent in planes are now free, and all the hours he didn’t sleep because of his traveling – he can sleep now. “So, I’m very relaxed at this moment,” he said. “But my sector isn’t. We have had a difficult time, and we still have a difficult time.” The Dutch veal sector was hard-hit by pandemic-related lockdowns that closed restaurants in the Netherlands and across Europe. Sales of veal are very dependent on the foodservice sector with between 50% and 60% of consumption taking place in foodservice establishments in Europe, van Dongen said. That market ranges from the typical restaurants in Italy and France that host business lunches, dinners, tourists in the cities to small shops in Germany that serve veal kebabs. “That was all gone,” he said. “I’ve been spending a lot of time on this one because in Europe, like in North America, there was a lot of discussion about helping the sectors overcoming the crisis outside of the food sector but also inside of the food sector in agriculture. In Europe this is all arranged at the European level.” That meant the Dutch veal sector was competing with interests more broadly represented across the 27-member bloc at time when budgets are tight. “We are not well-represented over all 27 — or 28 if you still include the UK — member states,” van Dongen said. “And veal is only produced in three, four member states. “So, we had to solve our problems ourselves, and to a large extent, we were able to solve them.” In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast, van Dongen explains how the Dutch meat industry, especially the veal sector, managed to pivot their veal supply management strategy in a way that would help producers during a second lockdown. He also provided insights into why the Dutch meat industry is well-positioned to emerge from this global crisis stronger than ever.
December 18, 2020
USPOULTRY examines the economic impact of the industry
Finding distinct data points is always valuable information for members of the meat and poultry industry. Every two years, the US Poultry & Egg Association conducts its Poultry and Egg Economic Impact Study to take a closer look at the economics of the industry. The report, sponsored by USPOULTRY, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and United Egg Producers, showed that the US poultry industry provides 2,139,617 jobs and $121.1 billion in wages. The study said the economic activity provided by the poultry industry was $576.6 billion with $41.9 billion in government revenue. This week’s podcast guest is Gwen Venable, vice president of communications for USPOULTRY, who shares an overview of the economic study. Venable explains how people in the poultry industry responded to this study and what kind of data they were asked to contribute. Venable also discusses how industry leaders can search and find materials all the way down to the county and state house and senate district. Finally, she shares why this economic study is so important for the industry and the plans they have for the study in the future.
December 11, 2020
Monitoring mental health in the agriculture industry
Compassion fatigue often is associated with the health care profession, but people who make their living in agriculture can be affected too. At the NAMI 2020 Animal Welfare and Handling Conference, Monica Kramer McConkey, a rural mental health specialist in Minnesota, shared her insights into compassion fatigue and – if you’re experiencing it – coping strategies to help deal with it.
December 04, 2020
Baldor dishes on distribution for Thanksgiving
After describing Baldor Specialty Foods’ Thanksgiving decision making process in Part 1, Sophie Mellet-Grinnell, meat and poultry expert, foodservice professional and market specialist, lays out what went into home delivery and the company’s outlook on distribution during Thanksgiving and pandemic. Mellett-Grinnell also addressed whether customers were interested in prepackaged turkey more in 2020 and if other specialty meats and sides were still thriving for Baldor. Finally, she discusses using Koch’s Turkey Farm and Joyce Farms to pick out the high-quality turkeys that are processed from those locations.
November 20, 2020
Baldor touts turkey tailored to Thanksgiving during COVID-19
In 2020, Thanksgiving will look different from the traditional feasts and large in-home gatherings many Americans are used to. Yes, there will be turkey, sides and football with smaller groups of people, but how much turkey will people need compared to previous years? With smaller family gatherings expected to be prevalent this year due to concerns over COVID-19, consumers are flocking to smaller turkeys. For this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast we looked at this trend with Sophie Mellet-Grinnell, meat and poultry expert, foodservice professional and market specialist at Bronx, NY-based Baldor Specialty Foods. Mellet-Grinnell explained how she and fellow buyer, Kevin Lindgren, worked through the turkey market in 2020. They felt early on that the demand for bigger turkeys would decline. During Part 1 of this interview, Mellet-Grinnell talked about the reasoning behind Baldor's focus on smaller turkeys. She also described how the company selects its producers, including Koch Turkey Farmin Pennsylvania and Joyce Farmsin North Carolina.
November 13, 2020
More lowdown on The American Barbecue Showdown
Pitmaster Melissa Cookston loves playing with fire; she cooks barbecue every day for a living. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, the seven-time world barbecue champion, restaurateur and most recently, judge on the Netflix series The American Barbecue Showdown, shares more behind-the-scenes insights from the show, including the fact that she didn’t get to play with fire for a month; explains how different cuts of meat can influence the quality of the cook; how the competition barbecue scene has changed; and the ‘dance’ that Cookston and her crew have done to keep her Memphis Barbecue Co. restaurant business booming during the pandemic.
November 06, 2020
Melissa Cookston shares the lowdown on ‘American Barbecue Showdown’
Pitmaster and restaurateur Melissa Cookston is no stranger to the heat of competition barbecue. She is a seven-time world barbecue champion having won two Grand Champion and five World Whole Hog Champion titles at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. And in 2017 she became the first woman to be inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame. But in the new Netflix series, “American Barbecue Showdown,” Cookston trades in her competitor’s cap for a judge’s hat.
October 30, 2020
Tyson’s new research farm led by Karen Christensen
It is well known throughout the meat and poultry processing industry that today’s consumers place a high level of importance on animal welfare. They want assurance that companies allow animals raised for food to live the best life possible while under the care of producers. The newly constructed Tyson Foods Broiler Welfare Research Farm provides data on what broilers prefer, how they react to conditions such as lighting and enrichments, while operating on the scale of a commercial production operation, ensuring the data collected is usable and the results of trials repeatable. In this week’s podcast, Tyson’s senior director of animal welfare, Karen Christensen, discusses the broiler research farm and how she and her team use it to continuously improve the welfare of animals under the care of Tyson producers.
October 23, 2020
National Pork Board chef discusses trends in pork
In this episode of the podcast, MEAT+POULTRY talks to Jim Murray, the national channel marketing and innovation manager for the National Pork Board. In his role, Murray works with retailers, foodservice chains, distribution and packer/value added processors. Murray discusses the trends he has seen with pork throughout 2020 and how people are starting to crave variety in their cuts and recipes. He also talks about the importance of October’s National Pork Month to the Pork Board and how they are working to extend their message more. Later, Murray discusses what foodservice and retail trends looked like during this summer and what it could like for restaurants and delivery in the future.
October 16, 2020
Eyes on the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy
In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Ambassador Gregg Doud, Chief Ag Trade Negotiator, Office of the US Trade Representative, and former US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, explain their reservations about the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy during the Ag Outlook Forum presented by the Kansas City Agricultural Business Council and AgriPulse on Sept. 28.
October 09, 2020
Family Business Focus: NAMI offers assistance to family-owned businesses
As we head into October, Meat+Poultry wanted to reflect on a story we wrote for our Family Business Focus issue in September. In this podcast, Ryan McCarthy will be reading one report from our Family Business Focus series which MEAT+POULTRY is partnering with the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) to share resources and success stories of how family businesses can survive and thrive in the meat and poultry industry. Here are links to the resources mentioned in the episode: The Loyola Family Business Center is a member of the Loyola Business Leadership Hub within Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management provides family businesses executive programs. The Family Business Network provides the means to build more sustainable businesses into the future through a sales-free, global community with events and safe spaces for peers to learn from, share with and inspire one another in a variety of formal and informal settings. NAMI and the task force also work closely with The Family Business Consulting Group, based in Chicago.
October 02, 2020
The Ohio State’s Lynn Knipe discusses meat processing education during COVID-19
Recently, the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast featured Jeff Savell, a Texas A&M meat professor, as he shared stories of what it’s like having meat education in person during the pandemic. In this week’s podcast, Lynn Knipe, extension processed meats specialist at The Ohio State University, continues that discussion. Knipe shares the processes and procedures that the faculty took in Columbus, Ohio, before holding on-campus meat classes. He also discusses how his extension programs feature people already working in the meat industry. Lastly, Knipe shares his insights about other processing trends he’s seen during the COVID-19 pandemic including a larger interest in on-the-farm slaughtering and meat processing and what needs to be done to do it safely. Earlier in August, Knipe was appointed to the USDA's National Advisotry Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI). He will serve a two-year term.
September 25, 2020
Podcast: Husch Blackwell attorneys discuss litigating during COVID-19
In this episode of the podcast, MEAT+POULTRY talked with Ryann Glenn and Michael Annis, partners in the Food & Agribusiness practice group of law firm Husch Blackwell. The conversation covers a variety of ongoing legal topics in the meat and poultry industry, including how COVID-19 compares to other periods of agribusiness law. Glenn and Annis also discuss the difficulties of litigating these cases for both the companies and the employees. In addition, the attorneys laid out early legal procedures they have seen with meat processing cases during the pandemic and what the ongoing Safe to Work Act might look like if passed through the US Congress.
September 18, 2020
Jeff Savell on Texas A&M meat science department during COVID-19
After closing campuses in a frenzy during the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic, college and universities around the United States are bringing students back on campus while also staying socially distanced in the classroom. Although some programs can be done remotely, meat science departments have a difficult time completing its necessary classes without in-person interaction In this episode of the podcast, MEAT+POULTRY contributor and Texas A&M professor Jeff Savell tells listeners about how College Station, Texas is handling blended learning. Savell discusses what students and staff have thought about the procedures to put their department back on campus. He also talks about the different interactions with students and how it dramatically changes from in-person to Zoom. Later, Savell looks at what meat education could look like the future.
September 11, 2020
What Crowd Cow’s doing now
Crowd Cow, an online purveyor of meat and poultry, started with two long-time friends offering their customers sustainability, transparency and origin stories combined with the convenience of the internet. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, co-founder Joe Heitzeberg explains why he believes online sales of fresh meat, poultry and other foods have jumped from niche to the “new normal” because of the pandemic – and maybe the lasting impact of a music file-sharing service called Napster.
September 04, 2020
Temple Grandin won’t let a pandemic slow her down
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has turned the meat and poultry industry on its ear, forcing companies to experiment with various strategies and new ideas to survive the crisis while planning for the new normal whenever the dust finally settles. The daily challenges created by the virus have forced everyone to adopt new mindsets and adapt new ways of working, socializing and maintaining productive lives. Temple Grandin, PhD, is no exception. A professor of animal science at Colorado State University, the world’s foremost expert on livestock handling for the meat and poultry industry and an inspiring speaker and voice for the autism community, Grandin’s life has been turned on its ear thanks to COVID-19. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Grandin discusses how she has pivoted her personal and professional life in the coronavirus era.
August 28, 2020
Hess Meats shifted its operational strategy when the pandemic hit
This week MEAT+POULTRY recorded one of the stories from the August edition of the magazine. Listen to the Small Business Matters feature. For most small meat processors who have ventured into off-premises catering, the COVID-19 pandemic hit like a ton of bricks. Cancellations were massive and unceasing across the industry. For Hess Meats Inc., a 105-year-old country meat shop in Willow Street, Pa., catering had become the main sail that powered their small family business. Then in mid-March, the ship seemed to have fallen off the edge of the Earth when large gatherings were prohibited. Third-generation operator Lloyd Hess bought out his brother Paul’s share of the business in 2016, and last year turned over 51% of the ownership to his own son, Eric. “We were just getting into our booking peak for catering for weddings and I got 19 cancellations in one day,” Lloyd said. “We do about 75 weddings a year and many were able to be rescheduled for later in the year or even into next year, but it almost brought us to our knees.
August 21, 2020
American Royal president on canceling the World Series of Barbecue
The World Series of Barbecue run by the Kansas City, Mo.-based American Royal remains one of the country’s biggest barbecue competition events every year. Teams from across the United States descend on the Kansas Speedway for top prizes in barbecue cooking. But like many other major meat events, the Royal could not risk the safety of the competitors and thousands of spectators by holding its event in 2020. In this week’s podcast, MEAT+POULTRY talked to Glen Alan Phillips, president and chief executive officer of the American Royal, about the process of trying to hold the Royal and ultimately having to cancel and start planning for 2021. Phillips shared what the American Royal will have to do for the rest of the year to possibly hold some of their smaller livestock events in person while maintaining local guidelines. There is also a short discussion on the American Royal’s new complex in Kansas City, Kan., that was scheduled to break ground earlier in 2020, but has been delayed due to the pandemic. Phillips talked about the vision for this new agricultural center in the heartland.
August 14, 2020
Checking the pulse of the food industry
There’s a whole lot of pivoting going on in the food industry these days as retail operators tackle supply chain challenges and foodservice operators try to stay afloat. We’ve all heard that the global pandemic is driving radical shifts in consumer shopping behavior. Euromonitor International, a leading provider of global strategic marketing intelligence, said the pandemic has spurred unprecedented levels of channel shift among consumer spending habits, and these shifts have pushed companies across industries to make significant operational adaptations to meet new consumer demands. MEAT+POULTRY listened in to the Consumer Federation of America’s Virtual National Food Policy Conference held in July. Featured in a panel discussion of how COVID-19 is changing the US food system were Tom Bené, president and chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association and Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI: The Food Industry Association who spoke about how their members are faring as the pandemic drags on.
August 07, 2020
Southwest Meat Association CEO Joe Harris on switching to virtual convention
Like many other events this year, the Southwest Meat Association convention did not look the same in 2020, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, a team led by Joe Harris, president and chief executive officer of the Southwest Meat Association (SMA), set up a command center at ABF Packing in Texas to run its virtual convention. During this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Harris discusses how SMA pulled off the quick switch from an in-person plan to a virtual convention. Harris describes the feedback he has received from the speakers and sessions from the event. He also shares what SMA has done for small meat processors during this difficult time and what his group plans to do for the rest of the year. Check out all the information on the convention here.
July 31, 2020
Eric Mittenthal on NAMI's hot dog food drive for Feeding America
Usually, National Hot Dog Day for the North American Meat Institute is one of the bigger events in Washington during the summer. Franks hit the grill as politicians and industry leaders enjoy a few hot dogs together. However, with COVID-19 still a major issue across the country, NAMI decided to turn this annual celebration into a chance to give back to communities across the country. In this episode of the podcast, returning guest, Eric Mittenthal vice president of sustainability at the North American Meat Institute, discusses the recent food drive with Feeding America to donate hundreds of thousands of hot dogs around the country. In another segment, Mittenthal mentioned a revitalized campaign this year called Wiener Wednesday as a chance for consumers to enjoy their hot dogs weekly. During the podcast, Mittenthal also covers what NAMI has done during the pandemic to help members along with future projects the group has for the industry.
July 24, 2020
Specialty beef perspective
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left no corner of the US food industry untouched – meat processors especially. Stories of COVID-19 outbreaks among workers and the measures processors are taking to keep plants running and protect workers from infection have been prevalent since the pandemic began. Specialty producers also have faced challenges brought on by the pandemic. Ask Jordan Beeman, president and chief executive officer of HeartBrand Beef in Flatonia, Texas, and he will describe the past five months as “like living on a wave” with plenty of ups and downs. But in the next breath, Beeman will say his company also has been fortunate. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Beeman gives his view of the US beef industry from the perspective of a specialty producer trying to navigate the choppy waters of a pandemic.
July 17, 2020
The best of both worlds?
Paul Shapiro, CEO of Better Meat Co., is trying to expand blended meat products into the protein market. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Shapiro discusses what went into starting Better Meat, its business strategy and how the products are made and shipped to other meat processors.
July 10, 2020
Features Editor Bob Sims talks about 2020 Operations Exec of the Year
In this podcast, Bob Sims, features editor of MEAT+POULTRY, shares stories about the recipient of this year’s Operations Executive of the Year award. Gary Malenke is senior vice president of pork operations for Perdue Premium Meat Co., formerly known as Sioux Preme Packing Co. He has worked with hogs in one form or another for the majority of his career, well over 30 years. The episode highlights Malenke’s background of knowing all aspects of the pork process and how it has helped him turn the Perdue Premium plant into a very efficient operation. Sims also discuss Malenke’s ability to transition the needs of the plant as the pork industry has continued to grow over the last three decades. Finally, hear about the pork facility Malenke oversees in Iowa and how it has a chance for more growth in the future. Rea Look for the full story about the 2020 Operations Executive of the Year in the July issue of MEAT+POULTRY.
June 26, 2020
How do family businesses plan for a crisis?
The mettle of business owners and operators of all types and sizes has perhaps never been tested more than during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While many companies may have previously had some semblance of a crisis plan in place for unlikely circumstances that could affect their business operations, almost nobody could have predicted the devastating and widespread impact a global pandemic would have. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Craig Aronoff, PhD, co-founder and principal consultant of Chicago-based Family Business Consulting Group, discusses how in many ways, crisis management in a family owned and operated business can make or break the company and family bonds. This is the latest in a series of podcasts, web news reports and feature stories that are part of Family Business Focus, a partnership between MEAT+POULTRY and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI). MEAT+POULTRY and NAMI’s family business task force have joined forces to provide information and resources to help family-held companies survive and thrive.
June 19, 2020
Future Meat Technologies exec shares plans for cell-based meat
What will beef processing plants look like in the future? It’s a question many industry leaders think about, but one startup already has a different vision. Officials with Israel-based Future Meat Technologies still see cattle there. But next to that there’s also a station where people are building cultured meat in a cell-based meat lab operating alongside it. In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Eran Groner, head of business development at Future Meat Technologies discussed the progress the cultured-meat company is making during 2020. Groner described the cell-based meat process to produce animal-based protein on the other end. Next, he speculated about a timeline for mass-producing of these cultured products and when that will be forecast might become reality. Another point Groner made throughout the podcast is how Future Meat Technologies is scaling its operations while making the products an affordable option for consumers. He outlined the company’s strategy as it matures in the cell-based meat space, competing for consumers’ attention among the growing number of protein options.
June 12, 2020
Edwards Virginia Smokehouse CEO talks ham business in challenging times
In this episode of the podcast, MEAT+POULTRY speaks with Sam Edwards III, 3rd generation cure-master and chief executive officer of Surry, Va.-based, Edwards Virginia Smokehouse. Edwards discusses the steps his family business has taken to keep its crafted ham products relevant through the difficulties of the pandemic and another incident a few years ago. During the interview, Edwards explains how his business continued to work through a 2016 fire that destroyed the ham producer’s facilities. Then, he discusses how COVID-19 shifted many business practices at their retail stores and at its Surry, Va. headquarters. Edwards also discusses the direct-to-consumer business or mail-order business that has continued to be successful for his company through the years. Edwards also shares how the company has started to engage customers with Q&A sessions online on how to cook ham products for the dinner table. These topics and more are covered in this week’s podcast with Sam Edwards from Edwards Virginia Smokehouse – give it a listen and let us know what you think.
June 05, 2020
Bob Norton outlines the changes in the meat supply
As companies began to reopen processing facilities during April and May, many questions remain about how worker safety and the food supply security will continue when capacity increases during the summer. MEAT+POULTRY turned to Dr. Bob Norton, chair of Auburn University Food System Institute's Food and Water Defense Working Group, for a discussion on a variety of these issues. In this episode of the podcast, Norton outlines what will need to happen for companies to maintain and increase capacity at plants after community spread has subsided among workers. In the second part of the podcast, Norton discusses how farmers around the meat industry will continue to struggle with a backlog of inventory. Norton also describes his role in monitoring the pandemic, including why other American infrastructure has not been as affected as much as meat processing.
May 28, 2020
It’s about the planet, stupid
Dan O’Malley, founder and president of Before the Butcher, talks about product innovations, partnerships with traditional protein processors, and what the plant-based space is all about.
May 22, 2020
Fresh ideas from Beyond the Butcher
MEAT+POULTRY spoke with Danny O’Malley, founder and president of Before the Butcher, a maker of plant-based proteins. He talked about the company and its Uncut line of plant-based products. He also discussed the rapid rise of plant-based meat alternatives, the impact of the current pandemic on growth and the way forward for the category in the age of coronavirus.
May 15, 2020
Emily Detwiler's leadership in barbecue
Looking back at her education and the formative years she spent working at Smithfield Foods, Emily Detwiler was ready for her most recent career change when opportunity knocked. Initially she stepped away from her role as the director of fresh pork marketing for Smithfield Foods to avoid uprooting her family from Kansas City and relocating to Virginia with Smithfield. As it turned out, it was the work she did with the pork company that led her to her next move this past August, when she assumed the newly created role of chief executive officer of the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS). It was a logical progression for Detwiler’s career and in this week’s MEAT+POULTRYPodcast she discusses how her education in marketing led her to work in the food industry, and then with Smithfield, where she claims she came in knowing a lot about marketing and a little about meat. During her stint of about four years with Smithfield, Detwiler immersed herself in the smoke and fire world of competition barbecue and positioned Smithfield as one of the industry’s most committed processors supporting and promoting the increasingly popular culture and cuisine that is American barbecue. She spent years around some of the biggest names in the competitive barbecue circuit during her unique journey that helped her land her dream job with KCBS. She learned plenty from barbecue icons like Tuffy Stone and Chris Lilly during her journey. Establishing relationships with these well-known influencers and others in the barbecue world provided her with credibility and in hindsight, prepared her for leading KCBS today and into the future. As a supplement to this podcast, MEAT+POULTRY’s annual Barbecue Report, publishing in June, will include a more in-depth profile of Detwiler and how the past 10 months in her new role have been everything she expected and more, especially given the challenges created by the recent coronavirus pandemic.
May 08, 2020
Whittingham Meats pivots to retail
After Whittingham Meats of Allsip, Ill., relied on foodservice meat sales as its bread and butter for decades, the meat processor was forced to change its focus almost exclusively to retail sales during the first two months of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Bobby Whittingham, vice president for Whittingham Meats, talked about what it took for the family business to pivot its operational strategy entirely. Among the topics discussed, Whittingham talked about the precautions his business has taken with its workers inside its operation, and how they are keeping retail customers safe, including offering delivery. Whittingham also expressed his gratitude for the support of his local community, the south side of Chicago during the company’s transition. It’s a wide-ranging conversation about a meat business adapting when it’s faced with ongoing challenges on a day-to-day basis during a very volatile time. More information about Whittingham Meats can be found in the July 2019 feature about the company in MEAT+POULTRY.
May 01, 2020
Midan Marketing looks at consumer concerns
In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Michael Uetz, principal at Midan Marketing, a full-service marketing firm serving the meat industry, shares insights from a recent survey investigating consumer concerns during the coronavirus pandemic. The research sheds light on how consumer meat and poultry shopping habits have changed during the crisis, how concerns about food safety are ongoing and the ways some consumers are expressing their growing anxieties regarding food insecurity during these challenging times.
April 24, 2020
AAMP is ready to help all meat processors
Chris Young, executive director of the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), wants small meat processors to know that the association is here to help during the coronavirus pandemic. In this episode of the podcast, Young describes what resources the association is making available to all meat processors, not just its members, during the emergency. Young also touches on how smaller meat processors must handle possible outbreaks at their plants after seeing what happened to many major companies since the COVID-19 crisis started. AAMP meat processors are also getting creative to get their products out to their customers. Young explains how some plants are changing their existing retail stores into curbside or delivery outlets for their products. Finally, Young discusses what AAMP is doing on a day-to-day basis to try to support its companies during this pandemic. If processors need more information on help during COVID-19 check out AAMP.com
April 17, 2020
Rick Stott, Superior Farms, discusses the company’s response to coronavirus.
KANSAS CITY, MO. – Retail meat sales have continued to grow exponentially during the coronavirus pandemic. This has led consumers to buy up beef chicken and pork, but lamb has also seen a major increase. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Rick Stott, chief executive officer of Superior Farms, an integrated producer and processor of lamb based in Sacramento, California, to see how the company is handling the coronavirus situation. Stott discussed varying business trends on a day-to-day basis including the massive shift in demand away from foodservice. Then he explained what it took for Superior Farms to transition its processing operations from foodservice and retail to, now, all retail. Stott also talked about precautions Superior has taken, including social distancing practices and focusing on the sanitation of its facilities to ensure the safety of its employees and products. Finally, Stott mentioned how the company was preparing for the annual spike in demand associated with the Easter holiday, even during these challenging times.
April 10, 2020
Family Business Focus – Part 2: Daniele Inc.’s acquisition
This podcast is Part 2 in a series of web news reports, podcasts and feature stories that are part of Family Business Focus, a partnership between MEAT+POULTRY and the North American Meat Institute. Family Business Focus is a multi-media effort to provide information, resources and guidelines to help the leaders of these companies navigate the unique challenges facing family-owned processing companies as well as equipment and service providers to the industry. In this episode, Davide Dukcevich discusses the rest of the story behind the family’s journey from growing Daniele International into a thriving processor of charcuterie meats that never entertained acquisition offers to the realization that selling was the best option for the company and the family owners. In 2019, Davide, his brother Stefano and their father Vlado, did just that, signing a deal with the Chicago-based private equity firm, Entrepreneurial Equity Partners (e2p). Davide said that after 70 years, Daniele was part of the Dukcevich family’s DNA, and the decision wasn’t made easily. He discussed what led up to the decision and how the deal quickly came together. He also discussed how life has changed since the sale. To hear Part 1 of the podcast click here.
April 03, 2020
Family Business Focus – Daniele Inc.’s road to acquisition
In 2018, MEAT+POULTRY featured Daniele Inc. on the cover of the June issue. Based on a visit to Pascoag, RI, and a tour of Daniele’s massive salame facility and Old World prosciutto production, the feature story chronicled the rich history of Daniele, the Dukcevich family and its recent investment of millions of dollars to expand production and implement cutting-edge automation. Davide Dukcevich and his brother Stefano were the third generation of their family to own and operate the business, following in the footsteps of their father, Vlado (known as the “Christopher Columbus of charcuterie”), and his parents who founded the company in Italy seven decades ago. The charcuterie-based business, including about 600 employees, was thriving and the brothers were laser focused on the future. But who knew that about two years later, the family would decide that the next best step for the flourishing business would be to sell it, which they did in 2019 to Chicago-based private equity firm, Entrepreneurial Equity Partners (e2p). In this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Davide Dukcevich talks about the family’s business, how it was founded by his grandparents and how the Dukcevich’s family identity revolved largely around the business. The two-part podcast first covers the journey of the business, from its founding in Italy to its move to the United States, and the growth of the company and its transition through three generations of ownership. Next week, Dukcevich walks through the process of how the company’s stakeholders ultimately decided that the best next step for the company and for the family was to accept an acquisition offer.
March 27, 2020
NAMI's new UK partner
In this episode of the podcast, MEAT+POULTRY talked with Nick Allen, CEO of the British Meat Processors Association. Allen discusses Brexit and how it led to BMPA to move into a partnership with the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) with an impending UK-US trade deal possibly coming in 2020. Then he talks about what are the similarities and differences between the two trade groups. Finally, Allen lays out some possible steps that are needed for British citizens to know more about American meat products and what Americans should know about British meat. For more background, read this story from February about the partnership between NAMI and BMPA.
March 20, 2020
Fresh off Verde Farms
In this podcast, Dana Ehrlich, co-founder and CEO of Verde Farms, and Pete Lewis, chief marketing officer, unpack some of the highlights in Verde Farms’ evolution which include a new frozen and fresh beef processing facility in Mullica Hill, New Jersey; a $15-million investment from Manna Tree Partners, and the launch of a sous vide cooked line of grass-fed, pasture-raised organic beef cuts, strips and shredded beef meal solutions called Simply Sear It.
March 13, 2020
Collette Kaster on what PAACO is doing for animal care and animal welfare
The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) was started to create standardization and accreditation with regard to animal welfare auditing. According to PAACO’s mission statement, “PAACO’s vision is to be the authority on animal welfare auditing by providing high quality training and certification credentials for auditors and audits. Animal welfare issues affect multiple segments of our animal and food industry, and they all must support the comprehensive animal care areas we serve.” PAACO trained auditors serve the swine, dairy, poultry, beef cattle and feedlot industries. In this week’s podcast, PAACO Executive Director Collette Kaster explains the history of PAACO, its purpose and how the organization is working to make the meat industry better. In addition to her work as executive director of PAACO, in 2019, Kaster took on an additional role as the CEO of American Meat Science Association. Find out more about this new role as well as her many experiences as a part of the meat industry for more than 30 years in the April issue of MEAT+POULTRY.
March 06, 2020
Podcast: 2020 Annual Meat Conference Preview
Once again, meat industry leaders will gather in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 2-4 for the Annual Meat Conference (AMC) at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. The event is sponsored by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). In 2019, 1,700 industry professionals showed up for the conference and more than 115 exhibits provided opportunities for attendees to connect with industry experts. The AMC features the latest in meat-processing technology and more. It also provides hours of education sessions covering a variety of topics pertinent to the meat retailing industry. The conference will also feature products from more than 400 meat and poultry retail buyers for attendees to sample. The event is dedicated to getting meat and poultry retail buyers, suppliers and consumers in the same place.
February 27, 2020
Animal Agriculture Alliance bridges the gap
The Animal Agriculture Alliance has been bringing together stakeholders in the animal agriculture industry since 1987. The non-profit, Arlington, Virginia-based organization is working to bridge the communications gap between farmers, ranchers, veterinarians, animal feed companies, animal health companies, processors and allied associations. Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO of the Animal Ag Alliance since 2011, serves as a national spokesperson and adviser to the agriculture and food industry. While attending the International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta this January, Johnson Smith shared her thoughts on the challenges facing the animal agriculture industry. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRYpodcast, find out how industry stakeholders can come together to achieve common goals. Also, learn about the upcoming Stakeholders Summit, to be held in Arlington, Virginia, May 7-8.
February 21, 2020
In Canada, halal-observant consumers are one of that country’s fastest growing market segments. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Salima Jivraj, client services director at Nourish Food Marketing and founder of Halal Foodie, provides insights into understanding halal consumers and strategies food companies should undertake to gain their trust.
February 14, 2020
Jeff Savell on the rise of Camp Brisket
In the second part of the meat science conversation, longtime MEAT+POULTRY contributor Jeff Savell, who co-authors Meat Perspectives, discussed the popular two-day Camp Brisket. The event examines the educational side of barbecue at Texas A&M and is a joint venture between Foodways Texas and the Meat Science Section of the Dept. of Animal Science at Texas A&M Univ in the summer. Savell details his background in barbecue and how he’s grown to love the process of setting up this camp and informing the attendees. Tune in above to hear his knowledge and expertise on the subject. He also emphasized the global reach of his program at Texas A&M. For more details visit the Camp Brisket website. Listen to Part One of our discussion with Savell here.
February 06, 2020
Jeff Savell on Meat Perspectives
Longtime MEAT+POULTRY contributor Jeff Savell, who co-authors Meat Perspectives , is the latest guest in this episode of the podcast. Savell currently serves as a Distinguished Professor of Meat Science at Texas A&M Univ. as well as the E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chairholder in the Dept. of Animal Science. During the first part of the discussion, Savell discusses how he and his fellow professor Kerri Gehring come up with the ideas for the columns and make it appeal to the meat and poultry audience. He also talks about how they developed their partnership in studying meat science. Finally, Savell examines how students have evolved over the years at Texas A&M and the growth in the number of women participating in the university’s meat science programs and pursuing meat science as careers. In Part 2, scheduled for Feb. 7, the discussion turns to the educational side of barbecue at A&M, including its annual Camp Brisket. This is a joint venture between Foodways Texas and the Meat Science Section of the Dept. of Animal Science at Texas A&M Univ. The popular two-day “camp” takes a deep dive into what is considered by many as the centerpiece of Texas barbecue, beef brisket. Tune in for a barbecue fix next week.
January 31, 2020
Fixing the ‘poultry problem’ (Part 2)
Last week, we introduced you to Matt Wadiak, co-founder of the meal kit company, Blue Apron, and founder of Cooks Venture, a poultry company. Cooks Venture sells a proprietary breed of chickens directly to consumers online, through retail outlets and to foodservice operators at prices comparable to competing mid- to high-attribute birds currently on the market. But Wadiak will tell you that the story behind Cooks Venture chicken is the real selling point. He became a poultry breeder because he believes that turning the tables on climate change relies, in part, on solving what he calls the poultry problem. Wadiak says that topsoil is this country’s greatest resource and mixing it with synthetic inputs is only sustainable for so long. For Cooks Venture, meat production that manages crops and empowers producers to support a whole food system instead of just one point in the food system. “Our goal is to partner with our feed growers to create more systems of small grains and alternative crop rotations,” he explains. “And because our bird has a more robust and developed digestive tract, our bird can eat low-density seeds and process them into muscle, bone and organ tissue more effectively than a conventional bird could. So, having a healthy bird is really essential to having healthy soil.” In this episode of the podcast, Wadiak explains how adopting regenerative chicken production and farming practices not only can fix the food system but make an impact on climate change in the process.
January 24, 2020
Can chickens change the world?
Matt Wadiak, co-founder of Blue Apron, launched Cooks Venture last year because he saw agriculture as an untapped opportunity to make an impact on climate change using regenerative agriculture practices.
January 17, 2020
Meat Alternative Mashup
After seeing a surge of meat alternatives come onto the market in 2019, 2020 looks to be going down a similar path. There are new companies jumping into the meat alternative frenzy, but there are also established brands developing products. That’s why the rise of plant-based products will continue to be on our watch this year. Listen above for the latest meat alternative stories MEAT+POULTRYcovered since January. Below are the links to the stories on meatpoultry.com this week. Impossible Foods: http://bit.ly/39Xp6sq Kroger: http://bit.ly/37Y2tm5 Hooters Unreal Wings: http://bit.ly/36HkN2B Prime Roots: http://bit.ly/35G1oxx
January 10, 2020
Pork Consumer Trends for 2020
MEAT+POULTRY’s first podcast of the year focuses on the pork industry and specifically explores findings from the National Pork Board’s (NPB) consumer research conducted this past year. Tara-Ann Dugan, director of consumer and marketplace insights for the NPB, discussed key findings about consumers, including the role of simplicity and convenience in new product offerings as well as pork’s health and wellness attributes. Dugan also covers how pork’s popularity continues to grow across cultures and the opportunities that still exist Dugan details all the programs the association spearheaded in 2019 and looks ahead at opportunities in the coming year based on the most recent consumer trends.
January 03, 2020
Pederson’s gives back (Part 2)
For anyone within earshot of Pederson’s Natural Farms in Hamilton, Texas, it’s hard to miss this battle cry from Neil Dudley, vice president of sales: “Sooie! We got bacon!”, especially in early October. The thriving meat-processing company has evolved since Dudley’s lifelong best friend, Cody Lane, joined the company in 2001 as president and hired Neil early in his tenure. Since about 2006, Pederson’s has focused on processing premium bacon for specialty retailers including Whole Foods and many others. The company’s overall production, sales and new products have flourished as consumers’ love affair with bacon seemingly gets stronger each year. And since 2012, Pederson’s has committed to giving back by hosting an annual event to promote two charities by hosting Bacon Bash Texas. Combining bacon, beer and bands for one day each October Pederson’s brings thousands of people to Cranfills Gap, Texas, to raise money for Niki Warms the Cold (to purchase coats and blankets for those in need during the winter) and children living with Type 1 diabetes. In Part 2 of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast with Dudley, he talks about how the company came to realize how its philanthropic pursuits could make a difference in the lives of people in need. To hear Part 1 of the podcast, click here.
December 20, 2019
Pederson’s finds a bacon niche (Part 1)
Pederson’s Natural Farms, based in Hamilton, Texas, is a bacon processing success story led by two legitimate cowboys, Cody Lane, president and Neil Dudley, vice president of sales. Lane and Dudley are savvy and focused businessmen who’ve grown their company from a humble, bacon-focused business to a respected processor of natural, antibiotic free, premium bacon products and other value-added meats. They’re capitalizing on the bacon boom and health-and-wellness focused consumers. MEAT+POULTRYvisited Pederson’s plant in 2016 and since then the company has evolved to what is now, a thriving and specialized processor that has grown in terms of product offerings, number of employees and especially its marketing approach. The company’s leaders have also learned from some trial-and-error product introductions in the past several years. In part one of this two-part podcast, M+P caught up with Dudley to get an update on the company, how his role has evolved and how not every new product idea in the meat business turns to gold.
December 13, 2019
Meat+Poultry Podcast Trailer
In the last few months, MEAT+POULTRY launched its latest podcast. The weekly audio installment. Weekly installments of the MEAT+POULTRY podcast gives people a chance to hear about different aspects of the industry. The podcast allows editors to share experiences after their reporting is complete from cutting edge facilities around North America. It also provides people in the industry a chance to further explain the innovations and steps they are taking to move meat into the future. We also track the latest trends in the industry and their short and long term impact. Look for more exciting stories of the industry to be covered throughout 2020. Subscribe to the meat and poultry podcast on meat poultry. com or wherever you listen to podcasts.
December 10, 2019
Inside Lincoln Premium Poultry
Costco Wholesale has made a poultry processing decision that the entire industry is watching closely. In the last few months, the company continues to push forward with only having one location to produce its famous $4.99 chickens. That location? Lincoln Premium Poultry in Fremont, Nebraska. In this podcast, features editor Bob Sims overview what he saw in his tour of the state-of-the-art facility. Sims also discusses the various pieces of technology and logistics used for the plant to run effectively. He also looked at the political will it took from Lincoln Poultry and its executives to get buy in from the Nebraska community around them. The entire cover story is now available in the December digital edition of MEAT+POULTRY.
December 06, 2019
Winners and losers in the chicken sandwich war (Part 2)
The Popeyes-Chick-fil-A rivalry generated plenty of buzz and sales of chicken sandwiches but not without a few helpings of controversy on the side. Acts of violence committed by customers against each other and restaurant staff marked a low-point in the chicken sandwich war. Conflict driven by high demand and disrupted supplies at Popeyes might have contributed to the problem. In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Sol Marketing CEO Deb Gabor shares her insights into crisis management strategies that can help brands survive negative publicity that can tarnish a brand's image. She also explains how this brand battle turned into a win-win for the combatants, and she floats the idea of irrational loyalty and the role it plays in keeping consumers faithful to their favorite brands.
November 22, 2019
Chicken sandwich 'war': What was it good for?
It wasn’t exactly the Summer of Love for Chick-fil-A and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. A “chicken sandwich war” erupted in August when Popeyes launched — and quickly sold out of — its chicken sandwich followed by a “Ya’ll good” tweet directed at Chick-fil-A. And the rivalry only intensified when Popeyes mocked Chick-fil-A for promoting National Sandwich Day which fell on a Sunday — when Chick-fil-A locations are closed. After resolving its supply chain issues, Popeyes then used National Sandwich Day to launch the return of its chicken sandwich. This move turned out to be far more than another dig at Chick-fil-A; it was an opportunity to kickstart a conversation about Chick-fil-A’s values, according to Deb Gabor, CEO of brand strategy consultancy, Sol Marketing. In this podcast, we spoke with Gabor about the real battle — a battle of brands — and the competing values of the customers who love them.
November 15, 2019
World Butchers' Challenge in America
In this episode of the podcast, MEAT+POULTRY welcomes Danny Johnson, owner of Taylor's Market, head of The Butchers Guild, and captain of “Butchers of America” for the World Butchers’ Challenge. First, Johnson talks about how he got involved with The Butchers Guild. Then Johnson discusses the competition and how he helped bring the growing event to his hometown of Sacramento, California. In 2020, the event will be held at Golden 1 Center where the Sacramento Kings play basketball. He also explains how the Butchers of America team was developed to face off against its foes across the world and how the 3-hour 15-minute challenge works. Johnson also emphasizes how the World Butchers’ Challenge will use local, sustainable meats during the event.
November 08, 2019
Country Archer capitalizes on meat snack mania
Country Archer Jerky Co. is a meat snack success story with an unlikely beginning and a promising future. After stopping at a roadside stand while on vacation almost 10 years ago, Eugene Kang bought some beef jerky that would change his life – it was love at first bite.
November 01, 2019
Trust in Animal Protein
At the Animal Welfare and Handling Conference held in Kansas City Oct. 17-18, Eric Mittenthal, vice president of sustainability for the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), announced a new initiative called Trust in Animal Protein. MEAT+POULTRY spoke with Mittenthal after the conference to get more details about Trust in Animal Protein and to learn why the industry needs this new standard for animal welfare.
October 25, 2019
Nick Solares is enjoying the meat life
In this episode of the podcast, the guest is food writer and web series host Nick Solares. Solares hosted The Meat Show on the Eater YouTube channel, where it exploded over the last few years and into millions of views. Now Solares has started a new venture Meat Life Media and the Meat Life YouTube channel. In this endeavor, he hopes to celebrate the experience of meat dining, but as you will hear, he’s moved into the role of advocating for meat consumption and production. There’s a reason it says professional carnivore under his title card now. Ryan McCarthy and Solares and discuss why he decided to take his meat career in this direction. Then, they discuss the different avenues Solares plans to take the YouTube channel and company. Finally, Solares discusses which cities he plans to travel to show off the world of meat.
October 18, 2019
Introducing: Dakota 44
Dakota Provisions went big after the company chose to create its first line of consumer products under the Dakota 44 brand. MEAT+POULTRY caught up with Renee Robertson, senior marketing manager of Dakota 44, to get up to speed on a brand that aims to bring more than turkey to consumers’ tables.
October 11, 2019
Editor Kimberlie Clyma recaps Women in Agribusiness
Managing Editor Kimberlie Clyma details her experience at the Women in Agribusiness Summit she attended Sept. 25-27 in Minneapolis. Clyma outlines the structure of the summit and how it differs from other agricultural conferences that are held throughout the year. She also discusses the issues state commissioners are keeping their eyes on going into 2020. Sustainability is a hot-button topic and Clyma describes how the women executives are handling the issue in agriculture. Read Clyma’s recap from the Summit here.
October 04, 2019
Randy Blach, CEO of CattleFax, specializes in separating signals from noise — drilling down to the data that matters — to deliver actionable insights to the meat and poultry industry stakeholders who rely on the research, analysis and other information that CattleFax provides to its subscribers. He was a featured speaker at the Certified Angus Beef Annual Conference held in Asheville, North Carolina this week, and he took a few minutes to share with MEAT+POULTRY his observations of the trends and issues affecting the meat and poultry industry.
September 27, 2019
SuKarne shows off its Mexican operation
SuKarne, a multinational processor based in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, continues to grow its business around Latin America and now is making a big push into the US market. It’s one of the reasons why the company is the subject of MEAT+POULTRY’s September cover story. Editor Joel Crews traveled to Mexicali, Mexico, a border town near San Diego, to see the operations at one of SuKarne’s beef plants. Crews was struck by the vertically integrated strategy the company has based its expansion on, where feed production, feedlots and processing facilities are combined at the same site. The operations mirror many US plants in terms of processing technology, production volume, food safety interventions and product quality. In this episode of the podcast, Crews chats about how SuKarne is striving to become a bigger player in the US retail and foodservice market and how its evolution has prepared it for this next step. He also discusses the investments the company has made in technology and resources to produce products that will appeal to more retailers as part of its mission to put “more steaks on more plates.” Crews talks about SuKarne’s next moves in the US market and plans for MEAT+POULTRY to expand its coverage of the Mexican meat market. Read the entire September cover story here.
September 20, 2019
Hi Mountain Seasoning touts ‘cure’ for bacon addiction
Bacon, like butter, makes everything better. But what could make bacon better? Making your own at home. Enter Riverton, Wyoming-based Hi Mountain Seasonings, a leading manufacturer of seasoning kits for homemade jerky and sausage that recently launched do-it-yourself bacon cure kits.
September 13, 2019
Temple Grandin shares animal handling history with Cargill
Temple Grandin, Ph.D., the world’s leading authority on livestock handling and professor of animal science at Colorado State Univ., recently visited Cargill Protein’s new Headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, to commemorate the company’s progress in animal handling. After talking with employees about her life and the evolution of animal handling in the meat and poultry industry, Grandin answered some questions from the media including Editor Joel Crews. Crews asked about how she first got her foot in the door at one of her first, and biggest clients and she went on to recall how she mailed drawings of a livestock handling system for a Cargill beef plant in Canada. The plans were noticed by Cargill’s Bill Fielding in the late 1980s and a working relationship was born. Crews also asked Grandin and Lacey Alexander, Cargill’s animal welfare lead for beef, about the role of technology in animal handling and welfare, including remote video auditing (RVA), which was implemented by Cargill more than a decade ago. Alexander discussed RVA and steps the company takes to train Cargill employees on the important balance between technology and behavior.
September 06, 2019
From caddie to meat-snack mogul
Jeff King’s jerky brand started with some curiosity about the popular meat snack and some subsequent experimentation with a few recipes he stumbled across on the internet. Seven years later, the professional golf caddie turned his garage-based side hustle, known as Kingmade Jerky, into a full-time endeavor that recently announced a partnership with the largest golf tour in the world: the PGA Tour.
August 29, 2019
Building a Chain of Trust
Michael Billings, head of procurement at ButcherBox, strongly believes that people just want to know the truth about where their food comes from. In the second episode of our conversation with Billings, he talks about communicating claims to consumers and partnering with Niman Ranch. He also has thoughts about what it’s like for a short-time retiree trying to train younger workers to succeed in a business they might not know much about. Billings’ connection to agriculture grew from a childhood spent helping his grandfather on a chicken farm.
August 23, 2019
Michael Billings on his second chapter in the meat industry with ButcherBox
Michael Billings retired from BJ’s Wholesale Club in Westborough, Massachusetts, after 25 years as vice president of meat and seafood procurement. Roughly four years in, he had no plans to return to work until one day, Billings recalled, “…I got this interesting note on my LinkedIn account that said, ‘Interesting background; need to talk,’ and it was the owner of ButcherBox.” Mike Salguero founded ButcherBox in 2015 using $215,000 he’d raised through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. The online retailer sells and delivers sustainably raised Certified Humane meat and poultry raised by independent family farms. “I met him,” Billings said, “and he’s just an amazing guy. I thought what he was trying to do was pretty interesting.”
August 16, 2019
Selling KC Competition Meats
Valley Oaks Steak Company will be featured in the plant tour section of Meat+Poultry this August. It’s a small operation just outside M+P headquarters in Kansas City with the feedlot and processing plant all on campus. A customer can even drive up to the front door and buy the fresh cut meat in their expanding butcher shop. But like many small operations, they are always looking to innovate. With a strong connection to the Kansas City area they saw a niche with their website: KCCompetitionMeats.com In this podcast, Ryan talks to Jake Huddleston, Valley Oaks operation manager, about how the company came up with the idea of the KC Competition Meats website. Plus, how people from across the country want to try and replicate the Kansas City taste and flavor in their backyard grilling.
August 09, 2019
Editor Joel Crews on Operations Exec of the Year Robert Garlington
Robert Garlington, a 34-year veteran of the poultry processing industry and senior vice president of operations with Springdale, Arkansas-based George’s Inc was named MEAT+POULTRY’s 2019 Operations Executive of the Year award. Garlington was featured on the July cover of the magazine and received the 8th annual plaque for his service to the industry. In this episode, editor Joel Crews discusses his profile of Garlington and how he became such a successful and sought-after figure for poultry producers. Garlington is a well-traveled veteran of the poultry industry who has humble roots in Texas. There isplenty of in-depth information in the full profile but this quick synopsis from Crews shows why Garlington epitomizes what Meat+Poultry looks for in operations executives every year Read the full Robert Garlington profile below: https://www.meatpoultry.com/articles/21610-in-pursuit-of-perfection
August 02, 2019
Eating in Orbit according to Vickie Kloeris
Semi-retired manager of Flight Food Systems at NASA and an Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) board member Vickie Kloeris , had oversight of the contract responsible for producing the food the Space Shuttle program and the International Space Station (ISS). In her role, which she held for 34 years, she worked with crew members to select items to take on their missions, one among a myriad of duties.
July 30, 2019
Editor Bob Sims discusses his visit to Prestage Foods of Iowa
In this MEAT+POULTRY Podcast episode, Features Editor Bob Sims provides some insight from his plant tour of Prestage Foods of Iowa. The 700,000-sq.-ft. state-of-the-art facility in Eagle Grove, Iowa, mixes new, automated hog processing practices, while also emphasizing employee satisfaction. Sims takes us through some of the features that stood out to him including the layout of the plant, the treatment, opportunities for employees and the diversity of management at the location. Sims also discusses what the future of hog processing looks like and how they plan on building off the early success of the plant. Read the full story here: https://www.meatpoultry.com/articles/21444-prestage-foods-builds-a-better-way
July 19, 2019
Part 3 with Bob Langert: McDonald’s, sustainability and the social media age
In the final episode of the series, social media is the elephant in the room and on the side of the consumer. Bob Langert, a former vice president over sustainability initiatives at McDonald’s and author of “The Battle to do Good: Inside McDonald’s Sustainability Journey,” discusses the impact of social media on Corporate America’s ability to define its responsibilities to society. And, he shares some “hard-knock nuggets” of advice for businesses trying to navigate the disruption caused by social media. Next week, Ryan McCarthy, digital media associate editor, sits down with MEAT+POULTRY Features Editor, Bob Sims who visited Prestage Foods of Iowa on assignment. Prestage Foods of Iowa began hog slaughter under USDA inspection in March of this year. The 700,000-sq.-ft. facility houses some of the most advanced pork processing technology in the industry. MEAT+POULTRY got a first look inside the plant. We hope you’ll listen in to Ryan and Bob’s conversation to learn more about this awesome facility.
July 12, 2019
Part 2 with Bob Langert: How McDonald's formed a sustainability team
Bob Langert, a former vice president over sustainability initiatives at McDonald’s spent more than 20 years at McDonald’s focused on ways for the company to address a range of issues related to sustainability. For his book,"The Battle to do Good: Inside McDonald’s Sustainability Journey", Langert says he interviewed about 51 people who were part of McDonald’s sustainability journey during his time with company. According to Langert, no company goes it alone when it comes to sustainability. But if sustainability is a team sport, who do you want to play for your side? Bob Langert has a few thoughts about this subject which kicks off the second installment of our conversation. Next week, we’re taking a break for the July 4 holiday, but we’re not quite done sharing what we learned from Bob Langert about McDonald’s and sustainability. So, in the third and final installment of our conversation, he answers several questions, including: Who defines the role of companies in society these days and how does social media influence that debate? Does big business have any business addressing social issues? And what’s a “hard knock nugget?”
June 28, 2019
McDonald’s search for sustainability featuring Bob Langert
McDonald’s Canada recently announced the launch of its Green Concept Restaurantsin Vancouver and British Columbia. These restaurants basically are testing sites for a variety of sustainable packaging and utensil solutions. Customers visiting these special stores will see paper straws, and wooden cutlery and stir sticks. Cold drinks, specifically medium-size ones, will be served in cups that are acceptable in recycling streams. The Green Concept Restaurant is one in a series of measures McDonald’s has taken to reduce their restaurants’ environmental footprint. But how did McDonald’s get to this point in the first place? To find out, MEAT+POULTRY spoke with Bob Langert, a former McDonald’s vice president over sustainability initiatives and author of The Battle To Do Good: Inside McDonald’s Sustainability Journey. McDonald’s battle to do good included external and internal skirmishes because, “…getting anything done in a business is hard as anything, and when it comes to sustainability, almost all the issues that I worked on for almost three decades — they’re all new things — implementing a new animal welfare program or fund new packaging policies. So, as you know, human nature when we start something new it’s always a challenge.”
June 21, 2019
Putting "moo" into sushi
The North American Meat Institute's Janet Riley discusses the inspiration behind beef's answer to sushi.
April 09, 2018