Chicken / Special Reports

Q&A with Sarah Crowley, Kayem Foods, on new chicken burger line

al fresco's Gourmet Chicken Grillers add new tastes to burger marketplace.

Kayem Foods’ al fresco brand may be best known for its chicken sausages, but the brand has expanded into a line of frozen chicken burger patties as well. The Gourmet Chicken Grillers, released in April, add a new dimension to the company’s burger offerings, which previously included a line of fresh burger patties.

Sarah Crowley, director of marketing at Kayem Foods, talked with The National Provisioner about the new products and how they fit in the burger marketplace.

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NP: al fresco is well known for its chicken sausages. What led the company to get into the burger category?
The burger category has experienced tremendous growth, as it offers a convenient way to enjoy burgers anytime consumers want them year round.  Several meat brands have had success in this space including Bubba Burgers, Ball Park beef burgers and Johnsonville pork burgers.  But there was no good “better-for-you” option.  We saw a great opportunity to give consumers a healthier burger option that lets them eat better.

al fresco all natural leveraged the good things that made us the No. 1 chicken sausage brand in the country to make delicious, all-natural chicken grillers that have half the fat of a beef burger and 70 percent less fat than pork burgers.  al fresco Gourmet Chicken Grillers are also gluten free and pork free, they come  in three delicious flavors:  Sweet Italian, Caramelized Onion & Buffalo & Blue Cheese.

NP: Were there any particular challenges in creating burgers instead of sausages?  
We use the same fine, all-natural ingredients that are in our chicken sausages.  Our Gourmet Chicken Grillers are the first line of products in the freezer case.  Based on strong results from consumer testing and the dearth of tasty, healthier meat choices in the freezer, we believed al fresco could thrive, and so far results are very good.  Our projections for this year are double what we originally forecast, and we've been authorized at retailers nationwide including:  Stop & Shop, Harris Teeter, Roundy's, Giant Eagle, Jewel and many more.

NP: Where are the burgers available now, and do you have plans to expand the line in the near future?
They are available nationwide (retailers listed above).  We will be launching new Grillers flavors in 2015. In August of this year, we are launching two additional delicious, all natural, gluten-free lines of products in the freezer case: three Gourmet Chicken Meatballs (Italian, Spicy Jalapeño & Pepper Jack Cheese and Caramelized Onion) and two Chicken Breakfast Sausages (Country Style and Apple Maple).

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