US: Smithfield's Cracker Barrel lines set for spring launch
Smithfield Foods has confirmed the deli and meat products it is developing under the Cracker Barrel restaurant brand are set to be launched in the spring.
The US meat giant announced a licencing venture with Cracker Barrel earlier this month to add to its portfolio of branded packaged meats. It said it would launch products including bacon, lunch meats and jerky but had not announced when the lines would be rolled out.
Speaking to just-food, Chuck Gitkin, vice president of marketing, innovation and R&D at Smithfield's John Morrell Food Group arm, said the processor had teamed up with Cracker Barrel because of the restaurant chain's brand.
"The company goes to great lengths to deliver a high-quality experience consistently in its restaurants. We don't think that anyone does this better and the Cracker Barrel brand strength reflects this," Gitkin said.
Smithfield, among the largest meat processors in the US, is looking to up its focus selling on packaged branded meats. Gitkin said a deeper focus on branded products helped shelter "competitive pressures" that hit Smithfield's non-branded operations.
In the year to the end of April, Smithfield's profits fell by more than 30% amid higher prices for hogs. In the first quarter of its current financial year, earnings also fell thanks in part to an increase in grain costs.
"Brands inspire consumer loyalty and insulate the company from the fluctuations of business conditions and competitive pressures that unbranded products might not handle as well," he said. "The company has an outstanding portfolio of leading brands. Licensing the Cracker Barrel brand complements this winning portfolio."
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