For three generations, the Flocchini family has provided quality protein to restaurants, institutions and retailers, and that protein could come in any number of product types, species and brand names. With five distinct businesses operating under the Armand Agra parent company, the family produces and distributes everything from fresh fish to gourmet whole-meat beef sausages to elk jerky to ground bison. Two new product releases this year have expanded the company’s read even further.
The company has come a long way since Armando Flocchini purchased the company where he worked in the 1940s and brought his family into the business. His sons and their children have continued to steer the business with great success as it continues to diversify and find high-end opportunities.
“People are going more for the quality side than the quantity side,” explains Tom Ryan, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Sierra Meat & Seafood, headquartered in Reno, Nevada. “I believe that they are willing to pay a little bit more per pound for better stuff, and they’re willing to have a little bit less of it since they’re willing to pay more per pound.”
Sierra Meat, Ryan explains, is a steak and seafood processor and distributor that serves customers throughout the Reno/Tahoe/Carson City area. Its sister companies are Durham Ranch and Flocchini Family Provisions. Durham Ranch specializes in game meats and specialty proteins and owns a bison ranch that is home to about 3,000 bison. It also sources elk and venison from New Zealand. Flocchini Family Provisions was formerly known as The Sausage Factory before it was acquired by the Flocchini family in 2015. With its rebranding effort, the company produces many sausages and hot dog varieties.
When the company was still The Sausage Factory, it was one of the first sausage makers to call out a single muscle for its products, producing an all-brisket sausage and a barbecue tri-tip sausage. Its latest products combine that tradition with a partnership that came from Sierra Meat, which happens to be one of the largest independent processors and distributors of Certified Angus Beef products.
“Once we [acquired] The Sausage Factory and rebranded it as Flocchini Family Provisions, and since we’re really proud of and have our wagon hitched to the Certified Angus Beef brand and philosophy, it made sense to begin producing whole-muscle sausages with Certified Angus Beef,” Ryan explains.
The new products come from Certified Angus Beef brisket and tri-tip whole muscle cuts. They include Certified Angus Beef Smoked Sausage, Smoked Brisket Frank, Smoked BBQ Tri-Tip Sausage, Corned Beef Sausage and Hot Link.
Ryan notes that CAB is a premiere brander beef program, and adding the CAB marketing team to the Flocchini Provisions label will help establish the brand.
“For us, the Flocchini name is a little bit new, but hitching our wagon to Certified Angus Beef for our products helps prove that we’re good enough to run with some of the best,” he says.
The Durham Ranch side of the business has also been busy with new product development. Ryan says that customers have taken a great interest in bison, and elk and venison have reached the consumer tipping point as well.
“It seems like the market is going to embrace it and give it the same attention it gave bison about 3 years ago,” Ryan says.
Durham Ranch had sold jerky products, but the company decided to completely reboot its jerky program, with everything from a new formulation and size to new packaging. The mouth feel of the jerky, available in elk, venison, bison, Wagyu beef and wild boar, is softer, and the pieces are smaller for consumer convenience.
“There’s enough toothiness that you get that familiar jerky feel, but not so much that you need to visit your dentist,” Ryan comments.
A line of trail mix that combines the jerky pieces with dried berries, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds is also new to store shelves.
Originally, the jerky was to be sold in clear plastic bags with a label, but focus groups wanted to know more about the products and the story of the company.
“We decided to make the investment in the bag itself and the time to develop bags that are USDA compliant and also are friendly for the average consumer to pull out the specific features and attributes of the jerky that make it special,” Ryan says. “[The new packaging] explains what Durham Ranch is and really gives people a feel that what it is they’re getting is a little different or special.”