Butterball, the largest producer of turkey products in the U.S., has been a leader and innovator in the turkey industry for more than 60 years. Not only does Butterball set the standard for product quality and safety, they’re also dedicated to doing what’s best for the environment, their turkeys, their people and their customers.
For a number of years, Butterball used industry-standard packaging for their foodservice ground turkey—chub packaging with metal clip closures. Metal clips present a number of challenges, not only for Butterball Foodservice, but for all types of meat processors. The small metal clips are difficult to keep track of from packaging through food preparation, and the potential for the clips ending up in a finished dish presents a minor safety risk for patrons. Also, standard safety measures like putting finished packages through a metal detector to find foreign metal was not feasible due to the metal clips.
Butterball Foodservice’s commitment to continuous improvement led them to explore packaging alternatives that would eliminate unnecessary risk. After discussing their idea and gaining the support of one of the nation’s largest foodservice distributors, Butterball approached Sealed Air Food Care (Sealed Air) to find an answer. Sealed Air and Butterball have been long-term partners in ground turkey packaging and Butterball was confident that Sealed Air’s packaging experts were up to the challenge.
Sealed Air, having foreseen the issues with metal clips, had already successfully tested a clipless solution for beef and was able to quickly test the solution with ground turkey. “We were able to get ahead of an industry problem for our food distributor partners,” says Joe Ramirez, Marketing Director, Sealed Air. “We’re always examining the market and listening to our customers. We look to have solutions ready for them when they ask.”
Sealed Air introduced Butterball Foodservice to their vertical pouch packaging and Butterball instantly recognized the safety and quality advantages. According to Richie Jenkins, Butterball’s Senior Director of National Accounts/Marketing, “Food safety is as much a priority for Butterball as it is for our operators, and our new ground turkey packaging meets that need while also allowing chefs to create delicious dishes for their diners.”
As the first turkey producer to move to a VPP solution, Butterball Foodservice is, once again, demonstrating vision and innovation in their category—and it’s paying off:
- Both 5- and 10-pound foodservice packages are now safer from processor to distributor to back of house, with no risk of metal clips getting misplaced or inadvertently ending up in the meat and/or finished dishes.
- Virtually all of Butterball’s ground turkey foodservice customers are now receiving their product in vertical pouch packaging.
- 98 percent of Butterball Foodservice annual ground turkey is now packaged in vertical pouches.
- Distributors and end users are pleased that VPP solution eliminates any potential risk and they continue to view Butterball Foodservice as a leader in innovative packaging that solves operator concerns.
- The new rectangular product shape is easier for foodservice operators to stack and takes up less freezer space.
- The durable film stands up better to movement during shipping, preventing leaks and avoiding punctures while helping the ground turkey maintain its flavor and freshness.
Butterball’s partnership with Sealed Air continues to help Butterball maintain its leadership position in the turkey category. Butterball’s Richie Jenkins commented, “The switch to VPP is another example of our commitment to investing in smart innovation, so our foodservice customers can serve Butterball products with confidence.”
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