Chairman’s Reserve Prime Pork from Tyson has been put to the test. The company worked with Kansas State to bring different brands of pork together for a competition. The results came out well for Tyson.
“We scored the highest, and we looked at the numbers and we were able to make the claim that we are 25 percent more tender than other leading brands without added solution,” said Ozlem Worpel, senior brand manager for Tyson Fresh Meats. “USDA approved the data we have shown them, so we got approval to put it on our label.”
Tyson also worked with the Master Chefs Institute (MCI) to ensure that its Prime Pork products have the right color, aromas, taste and tenderness, among other attributes. MCI’s Certified Master Chefs evaluate foods, beverages and equipment and then award the Master Chefs’ Institute Seal of Excellence to products that meet their quality standards.
“Again, we got the highest score on that, so we were awarded the Seal of Excellence,” Worpel said.
The key point with the MCI Master Chefs is that if a chef—someone consumers trust—recommends a product, shoppers are more likely to believe them.
“It’s like with kids. They don’t necessarily listen to mom but if they hear it from someone else then they believe it,” Worpel said.
Worpel talked to The Shelby Report during the Annual Meat Conference in Nashville about a new Chairman’s Reserve Prime Pork Certified Butcher Program it has developed for retailers. It includes demonstrations, merchandising strategies and continued education for meat department employees. Those skills should turn into increased sales.
“One of the things we heard here at the conference is how do we train and educate the meat department, especially the younger generation,” Worpel said. “We have developed the Certified Butcher Program. Once you complete the program, you get a Yeti tumbler for yourself (with the words “Certified Butcher” on one side and the Chairman’s Reserve Prime Pork logo on the other), a Certified Butcher hat and you get your certificate that the store is going to put on the wall.”
Worpel said that with the MCI Seal of Excellence and the data from Kansas State, along with the new certified butcher training, Tyson is delivering a full program.
But it goes beyond that. The company also works closely with retailers to provide marketing tools, including geo-targeted Facebook ads.
“What does it mean to have a brand? It means they have marketing support,” Worpel said. “Our positioning is that it’s going to be the best-supported program in pork.”
Tyson also holds meat manager contests. If they meet a certain sales target, they receive gift cards or grills.
“We try to engage the meat department,” she said. “We try to bring people into the store, so we work with retailers. It’s not only a push strategy; we try to pull people in as well.”
Worpel said she has sat in on focus groups for a new study on pork consumption to hear why people say they don’t eat pork. One reason is that they don’t identify certain items as pork.
“They say no, they don’t eat pork, but then they are asked if they eat bacon, and they say, ‘Are you kidding? I wouldn’t have breakfast without bacon’,” she said. “What’s your favorite pizza? Pepperoni? It’s amazing. It’s very interesting to see how consumers think.”
One of the reasons some consumers aren’t interested in certain cuts and kinds of pork is they say it lacks flavor. The problem is that it is too lean, even though that has in the past been what people seek out.
“When you make it so lean and you take the marbling out, you take the flavor out,” Worpel said. “If you can bring that marbling, that color back into pork, that’s something. That’s when we believe we are going to influence the experience that you’re going to get. And that’s how, honestly, Prime Pork came about, because we looked at the data and people said, ‘we don’t like pork because there is no flavor. There is flavor if you pick the right pork.”
Worpel added that Tyson will be taking Chairman’s Reserve Prime Pork into foodservice as well.