Supermarket Perimeter - January 2021 - 39

DEMAND FOR NATURAL MEATS is strong and growing quickly,
said Kent Harrison, vice president of marketing and premium
programs for Tyson Fresh Meats, a division of Springdale, Ark.-based
Tyson Foods.
Tyson's Consumer Monitor research shows that across all age
groups, but especially with millennials and Gen Z, the desire
for natural product attributes is a high priority for shoppers,
Harrison said.
" Our retail and foodservice customers have reacted to this trend,
and they've turned to the product and brand solutions offered by
Tyson Fresh Meats to meet that demand. "
When it comes to what constitutes a " natural meat, " Tyson follows
the USDA's regulated definition as it appears in the agency's Food
Standards and Labeling Policy Book.
But the company goes further than the USDA standard to ensure its
natural-branded products check as many boxes as possible.
" With beef and pork (the USDA standard) is the regulatory
minimum standard, " Harrison said. " When we think of the 'natural'
offering inside of our product portfolio, it refers to our NAE (No
Antibiotic Ever) program, Open Prairie Natural Meats. "
Open Prairie products, both beef and pork, must meet
specifications that go well beyond the USDA definition of " minimally
processed and no artificial ingredients, " Harrison said.
The additional key attributes required by Tyson include:
x No Antibiotics - ever
x No Growth Promoting Hormones - ever
x Never Fed Animal Bi-Products
Standards are comparably high for Tyson chicken products that
bear the " natural " stamp.
In addition to meeting the USDA definitions, all Tyson Fresh
Chicken products come from chickens raised NAE, said Stephen
Silzer, senior director of marketing for Tyson Poultry.
Harrison added that another reason Tyson doesn't position
its " natural " beef and pork offering as only meeting the USDA
minimum is that the standards for its programs are significantly more
demanding and comprehensive.
" We're confident that our Open Prairie Natural Meats brand will
meet and exceed any future changes to the USDA definition. "

Getting the most for your money
Budgets are being tightened these days, and shoppers today want to
make sure when they do spend money, they're buying quality food
they feel good about feeding their family, said Mel Coleman Jr., vice
president of Golden, Colo.-based Coleman Natural Foods.
" Consumers want to be confident in where their food is coming
from and will be looking for meat products raised and processed
in the US on farms that care about the humane treatment of their
animals, " he said. " If consumers spend the extra dollar, they want
to spend it for a reason, and we believe that reason is quality
and value. "
Coleman Natural Foods saw an interesting trend over the holidays.
While consumers were saving money because of stay-at-home
recommendations and limited travel, shoppers decided to get a little
fancier and spend a little bit of that savings on holiday meals.

Niman Ranch names first-ever
Sustainable Hog Farmer of the Year
Westminster, Colo.-based natural meat industry leader
Niman Ranch has named the first-ever winner of its
Sustainable Hog Farmer of the Year Award.
The Nuessmeier Family Farm of LeSueur, Minn., gets
the honor for its decades of efforts to preserve their
farmland and conserve natural resources, according
to Niman Ranch, a community of more than 750
independent family farmers and ranchers who raise pork,
beef and lamb traditionally, humanely and sustainably.
Tim and Tom Nuessmeier, fifth generation farmers, have
been Niman Ranch partners for 19 years. The brothers
and their families raise pigs outdoors, grow organic crops
using sustainable practices including crop rotation and
buffer strips and have dedicated pollinator habitat among
many other environmentally conscious practices on
their diversified farm. The family farm was recognized
as a Century Farm in 1975 and is going on 150 years in
operation.
The Nuessmeier brothers inherited their passion for
preserving the natural world from their parents, who always
incorporated diversified, traditional farming practices on
the family farm, according to Niman Ranch. In the 1990s,
they installed terraces to reduce erosion on their farmland
and have continued the sustainability journey through
today, regularly incorporating new sustainable farming
practices season after season.
The Nuessmeiers credit their Niman Ranch pigs as the
linchpins in their diversified, sustainable farm. The pigs
provide rich compost from their manure and bedding
that the Nuessmeiers then apply to their land to maintain
nutrients and build soil health.
With certified organic crops, they rely on this naturally
produced compost rather than synthetic fertilizers.

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