Independent Processor editor Sam Gazdziak spoke with Kent Harrison, VP of Marketing and Premium Programs at Tyson Fresh Meats, at the American Meats Conference about the company’s brand new product line, Chairman’s Reserve Prime Pork.

Kent Harrison: What we do with this pork program is we select for quality indicators, primarily marbling. You can tell from this great piece here. It’s a well-marbled product. Color is the other criteria, and third is a pH criteria. So the three things that really indicate pork quality, which then transcend the raw product and goes into the eating quality of the product, which is the key. People want quality fresh pork that we provide second to none. What we’ve done with the Prime Pork Product, and by nature of it having the “prime” name, means that it’s the best of the best. Chairman’s Reserve has already been identified as our best product, our best brand from a quality perspective, and we’ve taken it a notch higher with Prime Pork.

One of the things we’ve done in order to make sure that that criteria was followed strictly is we’ve trained a select group of people at the production facility to be our meat masters. They are trained to identify the marbling score, the color score, and that exact pH level that we are looking for that limits this product to only about 17 percent of the overall production that we’ve got coming out of our pork production facility. So it’s truly from our perspective the best of the best.

From a merchandising element, you’re looking at good, better, best with our great commodity product is good, our great Chairman’s Reserve Premium product is better, and then our Chairman’s Reserve Prime Pork is the best. So Prime really borrows that idea, that name from what you get in beef. People recognize at the consumer level that Prime is the best. All the research that we’ve done shows that the consumer needs a name for a product that gives it that stature to match the quality inherent in the product itself. So by calling it Prime, what we are really doing is identifying the fact that it is the absolute best, and we’ve incorporated that into the trademark name of the product and along with what has in the industry become known as a very high quality product. We know we’ve got something that is going to resonate not only with our customers but with consumers and especially so when you look at not only retail but foodservice.

This is a great product for chefs to use, so that they understand that what they’ve got every single time is going to have an eating quality element that is second to none, which is critical at a high-end restaurant that wants to incorporate more protein. [Having] pork as a menu item that helps drive revenue and drive traffic to their restaurant is that every time someone sits down to have a meal, they know that center of the plate and that pork offering is going to be the best. That’s what we’ve got here, and it’s really exciting to just getting off the ground. Lots of growth to come.