Thrushwood Farms is a meat processor and co-packer with a 28,000-square-foot facility located in Galesburg, Ill.  As a family-owned business with award-winning meats, the Hankes family takes great pride in the high quality products it produces and its commitment to food safety.

New venture, new challenge

When Thrushwood Farms looked to expand its business a few years ago, processing jerky seemed a natural fit based on its capabilities and the growing popularity of jerky. As part of its new operation, an oxygen scavenger was selected for use in packaging. Two years later, however, Thrushwood started experiencing failures with some of the scavengers.

Fortunately, the defective scavengers were discovered before the product was shipped, but the potential risk to Thrushwood’s reputation and business became evident. This incident revealed the provider lacked the technical expertise and customer service to resolve the issue in a timely manner.

The search for a new oxygen absorber

As a result, Doug Hankes, vice president of operations, began the search for a better scavenger solution.  He wanted a jerky-specific oxygen absorber manufactured in an audited U.S. facility. He also wanted his new vendor to offer technical expertise, excellent customer service and automation capabilities.

“We felt that through a better product and vendor relationship, we would be able to optimize a scavenger specific to our products and ultimately waste less material and space,” Hankes says.

With these objectives in mind, Hankes searched for scavengers manufactured in the U.S. and discovered Multisorb’s JerkyFresh oxygen absorbers. He then made inquiries in the snack industry.

Hankes says, “When I asked my colleagues where they would go to purchase the best oxygen absorber, Multisorb’s name kept coming up.” He then contacted Multisorb through its Web site.

The JerkyFresh difference

Multisorb business development leader Dave Elliason responded quickly and arrived at Thrushwood a few days later for an in-person evaluation. Together, he and Hankes conducted an in-depth review of the process, including optimization of scavenger size and dispensing options.  Hankes found his criteria for a better scavenger system quickly being met.

When used with proper barrier packaging and combined with packaging methods such as gas flushing, JerkyFresh reduces the oxygen level within the product packaging to less than 0.01 percent and maintains this level throughout the intended shelf life of the product, helping to inhibit the growth of molds and aerobic spoilage organisms. Manufactured in the U.S. in a cGMP-compliant facility certified to GFSI FSSC 22000, JerkyFresh oxygen absorbers meet the highest standards for food safety in the industry.

With a dispenser designed and manufactured by Multisorb, Hankes took the opportunity to automate the insertion process.

“Automation significantly increased our ability to manufacture products, and it was a seamless transition for our operators,” Hankes says. “From an operator standpoint, the dispensing equipment is extremely simple and easy to use.”

For Thrushwood, its new JerkyFresh solution has helped position the business for continued growth and success by increasing productivity, reducing waste and providing brand protection.  NP


To learn more, view the Thrushwood Farms testimonial here: