KANSAS CITY, MO. - Temperature control, moisture retention, locked-in flavor, convenience.
There are all sorts of advantages to the sous vide cooking technique, as more and more retailers and their supplier partners are discovering.
Woburn, Mass.-based Verde Farms’ two new lines of sous vide beef products, Simply Sear It! And Simply Shred It!, have enjoyed huge success since they were announced in early 2020, said Pete Lewis, the grass-fed beef specialist’s vice president of marketing.
“Reception for the Simply range has been very strong. Every retailer we’ve presented the products to has commented on how innovative they are, how easy they are to prepare, and how tender and flavorful the meat is,” he said.
Verde expects to officially launch the lines with an initial ship date of Aug. 10, Lewis said.
“We’ve been working on this product innovation for more than a year now, so it’s very exciting to be so close to the launch.”
Seasoned with steakhouse rub and slow cooked over low heat for over an hour before being vacuum-packed, the Simply Sear It! steak line makes it possible for consumers to prepare a tender and flavorful steak in under 5 minutes.
Once taken home from the store, customers simply have to remove the steak from the packaging and sear it on a hot pan or grill for 3 minutes, let rest for 2 minutes and then serve. Verde Farms says it’s the perfect solution for shoppers who may not feel confident cooking beef, as well as proven ‘steak masters’ in search of a perfect combination of convenience and quality beef.
The Simply Shred It! product line is slow cooked for over 10 hours and offers the same 5-minute-or-less preparation, perfect for taco and stir-fry dishes.
In launching the two lines, Lewis said Verde found that many customers have been waiting for someone to bring real innovation to the fully cooked, ready-to-eat meat category— especially a product that offers the important attributes Millennial consumers are looking for: 100% grass-fed, no antibiotics or growth hormones, and real, simple, honest ingredients.
“Our sous vide cooking technique produces a very conveniently-formatted product for consumers to achieve chef-like results on their own,” he said. “Our customers have already told us that they’ve loved cooking and eating the Simply products we’ve sent to them.”
Interest has been strong across the entire line, but the Simply Sear It! Ribeye and Butcher’s Steak Medallions have stood out in particular as, in Lewis’s words, “they’re unlike anything else on the market today.”
Wayne Farms teams up with Walmart on sous vide chicken
Oakwood, Ga.-based Wayne Farms LLC is bringing its sous vide chicken and other Chef’s Craft Gourmet Chicken products to Walmart.The retailer will begin selling the line in its stores nationwide beginning this September.
The Chef’s Craft Flame Grilled Chicken Breast Fillets are seasoned, grilled, and prepared by sous vide to provide a perfectly tender and delicious chicken breast fillet, according to Wayne Farms.
“These breasts have to simply be thawed then warmed on a stovetop, microwave or a conventional oven, making it easy to create a healthy dinner in less than 30 minutes.”
Chef’s Craft is a line of gourmet products inspired by chefs, crafted by experts and perfectly suited for culinary creations, according to the company. The minimally processed products are gluten-free, preservative-free and all-natural. All chicken is 100% farm-raised and contains no nitrates, MSG or artificial ingredients.
Other products in the line to be sold at Walmart include Gluten Free Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks and Grilled Chicken Breast Chunks.
“Chef’s Craft chicken has previously only been offered to the foodservice industry. This is the first time these gourmet products will be sold in grocery stores,” said Megan Ernst, senior marketing manager of Wayne Farms LLC. “We are excited to partner with Walmart to offer this all-natural line of products directly to consumers and present high-protein meal options families can feel good about eating.”
Expanding retail presence
Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson’s sous vide products are currently focused more on the foodservice channel, but category growth could spur retail expansion. Internal Tyson data characterizes sous vide as a “small but emerging space in retail and foodservice.”
“We are constantly working to develop products that meet the wants and needs of consumers,” said Patricia Luczak, Tyson Brand Innovation’s marketing director. “Despite being a growing trend, our consumers are not quite aware of sous vide, but it is something we’ll continue to access.”
For foodservice, Tyson launched a line of products called Precision Cooked that utilizes sous vide and meets the operator’s needs for consistently tender, high-quality fully cooked chicken with minimal labor required to prepare it for their patrons, said Dawnna Bowen, Tyson’s director of foodservice poultry marketing and innovation.
Pork belly and chicken breast filet are Tyson’s most popular sous vide products, Bowen said.
Tyson’s sous vide products are distinguished not only by their high quality but by being chef-inspired, she added.
COVID has significantly impacted the way consumers eat, Lewis said. Verde believes, for instance, that the experience consumers have had cooking for themselves and learning new skills in the kitchen over the last few months has translated to a greater appreciation for home-cooked meals.
“There’s been a reconnection to both hands-on cooking and quality time spent with family at mealtime,” he said. “As people adapt to the new normal and life picks up again with work, school, sports, etc., we think sous vide-cooked products will become a ‘go-to’ in their refrigerators for when they want to cook a meal, but don’t have as much time as they used to during stay-at-home.”
The flexibility of having a high-quality, delicious meal foundation that can be ready in minutes, he added, will enable them to continue making home-cooked meals and enjoying them with their families.
The full lineup of new sous vide products from Verde includes:
Simply Sear It! Steaks
- Steakhouse Ribeye
- Steakhouse Butcher's Steak Medallions
Simply Sear It! Steak Strips
- Carne Asada
Simply Shred It! Beef Shreds
- Tangy BBQ
Appealing to home chefs
As shoppers cook at home more than ever before, Wayne Farms wanted to bring them the same high-quality chicken they would expect in a restaurant, Ernst said.
“We also want to provide products that are nutritious, yet easy to quickly prepare. We know how busy consumers are, so we want to be able to provide them with a feel-good meal in less than 30 minutes.”
Walmart is the perfect retail partner, Ernst said, because Wayne Farms wants to make its products as affordable and accessible to as many people as possible.
This is the second Wayne Farms line of products to be sold in grocery stores. The other line offered in retail locations is Naked Truth Premium Chicken, which is available at Harris Teeter and Whole Foods Market.
Wayne Farms is the seventh largest vertically integrated poultry producer in the U.S. with annual sales exceeding $2 billion. A subsidiary of Continental Grain Company, Wayne Farms owns and operates 11 fresh and further-processed facilities throughout the Southeast, produces more than 2.6 billion pounds of poultry products each year.
This story was featured in the August issue of Supermarket Perimeter. Check out the full issue here.