My trip to visit this year’s Independent Processor of the Year, Dole & Bailey, also left me with an afternoon to walk part of the Freedom Trail. Viewing the graves of founding fathers like Samuel Adams and Paul Revere or walking where Ben Franklin walked is a day well spent for me. The picture below is me in Faneuil Hall, by one of the Dole & Bailey columns.

Many of the processors that I visit go back several generations, and they are well aware of their history, too. I’ve seen vintage pictures on the wall, antique processing equipment and old hand tools. I’ve seen early advertisements, company awards and yellowed newspaper clippings. More often than not, the production floors of these buildings are filled with automated equipment, and even the smallest of companies have added key technological advances here and there. Dole & Bailey represented to me a perfect modern-day multi-generational company: respectful of its past, but willing to adapt for the future.

I have to laugh, then, when I see claims that the meat industry is dying and will be swept away in a wave of veganism. I saw a similar claim in an editorial from Mercy for Animals, the activist group that specializes in well-edited undercover videos that “show” animal-handling abuses. They didn’t react well to a promotion from Arby’s offering an 800 hotline to help vegans who may be tempted by the restaurant’s new bacon.

“Meat is dead and dying, and your business will someday follow suit if you don’t change your ways,” the editorial warned. It’s a great threat, but there’s no basis in reality for it. The National Provisioner’s recently published Top 100 list showed strong growth from most of the large corporations. I hear about expansion projects and start-ups from smaller companies all the time. The new restaurants that open by me have some vegetarian dishes, but there is always protein on the menu.

If anything, the meat industry is evolving. We’ve seen changes to antibiotic usage and humane handling practices. We’ve seen more claims for “natural,” “locally raised” and the like. That diversification in the meat industry is a good thing, as it creates more niches and opportunities for companies of all sizes. The meat industry isn’t anywhere close to being consigned to the dustbin of history. The changes taking place today are just another chapter in a long history book.

Changes to IP

By now, you’ve noticed a change to the way that we are publishing the print edition of the Independent Processor. Starting with this issue, IP will be published as an insert to The National Provisioner instead of being bound as a separate copy. The content and focus of the magazine will not change, nor will our publishing frequency. This is just a little more cost-effective means of delivering you the same information six times a year.

We hope that you continue to enjoy reading Independent Processor regardless of how it is published.


Sam Gazdziak