Since 1954, Butterball, LLC, Garner, N.C., has been one of the most recognized names in the turkey industry. Named for the turkey’s broad breast and plump-rounded shape, Butterball produces approximately 1 billion pounds of turkey each year that are distributed throughout the United States and in more than 30 countries around the world for both retail and foodservice. Butterball operates six processing plants located in North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois, employs approximately 6,000 associates at plant locations, farms, feed mills and corporate offices and placed No. 15 in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ Top 25 frozen meat, poultry and seafood processors (March 2014 issue).
Butterball is also the creator of the Turketarian movement (a Turketarian is someone that loves turkey as part of their healthy lifestyle).
“Since Butterball is the most well-known brand of turkey in America, we are setting the standard for turkey categories like burgers, sausage and bacon. We’re so much more than just the turkey on your Thanksgiving table,” says Stephanie Llorente, public relations manager. “If you’re one of the 56.5 million Turketarians across America, then you’re well aware of this, but some may be interested in knowing that our product line runs from bacon and sausage at breakfast, through cold cuts at lunch, to a burger at dinner.”
Setting industry standards
Butterball is said to be the first national turkey brand to become American Humane Certified by the American Humane Association, an independent, third-party humane certification program for farm animals.
“We are committed to high standards and best practices in animal care, social responsibility and sustainability,” Llorente says. “Aiming to be a leader and to set industry standards for animal care and well-being, Butterball last year established an independent Animal Care and Well-Being Advisory Council, increased its employee training, implemented advanced on-farm technologies and has been audited and certified by the American Humane Association.”
Furthermore, Butterball’s Mount Olive, N.C., facility was recognized by the North Carolina Department of Labor as one of the state’s newest North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration Star Sites.
The Mount Olive facility also achieved 1 million hours worked without a lost time injury, while its Ozark, Ark., and Carthage, Mo., locations both achieved 3 million hours worked without lost time injury. Meanwhile, Butterball’s Huntsville, Ark., facility was recognized by the state of Arkansas in January 2013 for having worked 8 million hours without a lost-time injury.
“Worker safety is a top priority for Butterball. Without great associates, our company could not and would not be successful. Our desire is to protect our greatest asset. That’s why Butterball’s industry-recognized worker safety program consistently delivers performance that exceeds poultry industry standards as compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,” says Brian Rodgers, corporate director, safety and risk management.
Butterball also raises the bar for how to operate facilities in the most environmentally friendly way possible by reducing the amount of material usage, maximizing product-to-package ratio, reusing packaging containers, skids and other in-process materials and recycling all materials, including paper, wood, etc.
“Through a partnership with Ameresco [an independent energy services company based in Framingham, Mass.], Butterball is working toward achieving its energy efficiency and sustainability goals by analyzing current energy consumption and carbon emissions, identifying areas for the greatest improvement and designing a strategy to increase overall plant energy efficiency,” says Steve Valesko, vice president of engineering.
At a Glance
Company Name:Butterball, LLC
No. of Employees: 6,000
Products: Turkey products, including whole turkeys, turkey breasts, turkey cuts, ground turkey, turkey burgers and meatballs, turkey sausage and franks, turkey bacon, prepared foods and deli meat.