Hormel Deli Solutions Group, a division of Austin, Minnesota-based Hormel Foods, has made a big push to add more value-added offerings to its broad portfolio of brands and products, says Megan Ward, Deli Solutions Group brand manager.

“We know that consumers have less time to prepare meals at home,” Ward says. “Specifically, in the deli, our value-added solutions offer solutions that are convenient and still taste great and give consumers the ability to eliminate all the prep and still bring a delicious meal to the table.”

Hormel’s new Cuisine Crates, for example, give retailers the tools and ingredients necessary to develop a full meal solution (protein, starch and sauce) for consumers to purchase and feel good about feeding their families, she says.

Products in the Cuisine Crates line range from beef tips and noodles to brisket mac and cheese, and new items are on tap for Spring 2020.

Many other Hormel brands feature value-added solutions: Always Tender, Black Label bacon, Natural Choice, Columbus craft meats, Wholly Guacamole and Hormel Gatherings are just a few.

Also in the deli, Hormel offers Café H Chicken Tiki Masala, which is new this year; Fontanini Italian meats and sausages, Café H Pork Carnitas, Austin Blues rib tips and Jennie-O slow-roasted turkey products.

“Consumers today continue to look for time-savings options that replicate a home cooked or restaurant quality meals, but with minimal time commitment,” Ward says. “They also get to experiment and try new things much easier. This is especially true of younger consumers, who are looking to experience new flavors from the comfort of their home.”

Hormel continues to move from commodity products to value-added brand, Ward says, because consumers are looking for on-trend and exciting flavors in a convenient meal option.

In fact, she adds, the deli is the fastest growing part of the grocery store today, and Hormel has the brands and options to help both retailers and consumers.

“We offer solutions like our authentic 18-hour smoked BBQ meats, sous vide cooked meats and globally inspired proteins,” she says.


Grinds among big category movers for Tyson

Value-added can mean so many different things to so many different people, says Ryan Vessell, vice president of innovation and growth strategies for Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods.

“Whether it’s simple slicing in trays, what we know as case-ready, to seasoned, exactly portioned, even when it comes to packaging and labeling. There are certain categories where we see growth, where value-added continues to outpace historic categories.”

And in general, Vessell says, value-added is taking a bigger piece of the total pie at grocery retail, driven by significant shifts in consumer behavior.

“We’re really looking at convenience and simple prep,” he says. “Those two things are where we’re focusing our innovation efforts and accelerating them, and where consumers are gravitating.”

One value-added category that’s seeing tremendous growth for Tyson is grinds.

“It’s a category that has high household penetration, a high repeat rate, yet it hasn’t seen a ton of innovation prior to the past five or six years,” Vessell says.

Now, Tyson is seeing and capitalizing on a trend toward high-quality, even premium grinds — grass-fed, NAE, other more “attribute-based” blends, in addition to things like ground brisket and USDA prime.

“I think the  industry and consumers are really responding to the narrative of ‘Ground beef is such a versatile option, and it’s starved for innovation,’” he says.

Pre-prepared patties are another recent focus of innovation for Tyson, Vessell adds, whether it’s patties infused bacon, cheddar, steakhouse seasonings.

“It really takes value-added to another level,” he says. “Patties are already convenient, now I don’t even have to season them.”

Tyson’s slow cooker lineup also has seen tremendous growth, Vessell adds. And, related to that, so have one-pan dishes and instant pot dishes, he says. “We’re trying to hit on convenience, easy prep. It’s really a portfolio approach to how we see this space evolve, and it’s one we’re really excited about.” 


Dinner in 30 minutes

Dry-rubbed marinated tenderloins, loin filets and chops are among the value-added meat products from Hatfield, Pennsylvania-based Clemens Food Group that help shoppers take steps out of prep cooking and preparation process, says Kiersten Hafer, the company’s vice president of marketing.

“These products deliver dinner in 30 minutes,” Hafer says. “It’s all about convenience. Our value-added products meet the needs of today’s consumer and households.”

Making prep and cooking easy is a major focus of Clemens, Hafer says. One top seller is Hatfield Recipe Essentials ground pork and seasoned ground sausage.

“From apps to flatbreads, soups to main dishes, shoppers can use ground pork and seasoned ground sausage in ways that other ground proteins like beef, turkey and chicken are typically used,” she says. “These products are designed to take ordinary recipes up a notch and inspire new tasty dishes.”

According to the Power of Meat 2019 study, younger shoppers are more likely to use value-added items when purchasing fresh meat, Hafer points out. That translates to solid growth for the retailer in the value-added meat and poultry category. In 2018, value-added meat and poultry products saw a 5.1% increase.

“Consumers are time-starved and constantly looking for ways to make up time or streamline tasks that are important but demand their attentions – tasks like cooking,” Hafer says.

Whether it’s feeding an entire family or just cooking for yourself, Hafer says Clemens believes the key to capturing the most value is for retailers to offer value-added products to satisfy all their shoppers’ needs. 

Take the marinated pork category, where Clemens’ innovations include dry-rubbed marinated pork chops, introduced in 2018. The chops are pre-seasoned and pre-portioned, making meal prep fast and easy.

Hatfield Recipe Essentials, Clemens’ ground pork and sausage sub brand, provides a variety of flavors like Chorizo, Sweet and Hot Italian. With this product, we provide a meal solution and inspire recipe creation to the shoppers looking for easy-to-prepare pork for dinner tonight.