The 2019 Annual Meat Conference, held March 3-5 in Dallas Texas, featured numerous meat processors showing (and preparing) some of their latest products. For the last couple of AMCs, Verde has been promoting its grass-fed, organic beef. The company returned to this year’s event with its beef — as well as a few new surprises.
This year, the Woburn, Mass.-based company announced the addition of two new grilling favorites to its product line: 100% grass-fed, 100% free-range, all-beef hot dogs and dinner sausages. It also unveiled a line of ready-to-cook marinated beef.
Verde's uncured hot dogs will be available in both All Natural and Organic options. The sausages will be available in three flavors: Hardwood Smoked, Hatch Green Chile and Cheddar, and Chorizo and Queso Fresco. On the ready-to-cook side, the new products include a Carne Asada Flank Steak, Korean-Style Sesame Sirloin, Green Chimichurri Flank Steak and Gaucho Steakhouse Tri-Tip Kabobs. The products are sourced from grass-fed, organic beef from around the world — primarily Uruguay, but also New Zealand, Australia and domestically.
“The organic, grass-fed market has been growing. We started the company almost 15 years ago, so we’re one of the first to bring it to scale,” says Dana Ehrlich, CEO & founder of the company. “We continue to do a lot of the raw, single ingredient products, but we’re increasingly doing more of the value-added items.”
Verde may not be a brand-new company, but its emphasis on clean labels, organic and grass-fed meat and low-carb formulations puts it right in line with the latest consumer trends. Ehrlich himself is preparing for a half-Iron Man triathlon, and Verde’s products fit well with his keto diet plan. The new sausages and hot dogs have no sugar in their formulation, for instance.
Ehrlich admits that single-ingredient products are much easier to produce than the value-added items. In order to prepare for the development and release of the sausages and marinated meats — as well as future products in the company’s pipeline — Verde’s team has grown.
“We’ve expanded the staff in a couple different directions, both from a new product development standpoint, adding technical resources, as well as project management skills and assets,” he says, adding that its branding and marketing side has expanded as well. The number of processors that Verde utilizes as co-packers has also grown to match its product portfolio.
While the products are new to the market, Verde has received strong feedback in the time prior to rollout.
“With the hot dogs, we did a taste blind panel versus the #1 branded hot dog in the space, and we beat them on 7 out of 7 attributes. We knew we were on the right track, but the test is when you put the product in people’s mouths,” Ehrlich says. “We have some customers who have already committed to bringing the product on, and then [we’ve having] a lot of additional conversations as well.”
By evolving to meet the changing marketplace, Verde is positioning itself as a valuable resource for its retail clientele.
“Where retailers may have thought of us as a raw, single-ingredient company, now we can offer a whole product portfolio,” he points out. “Anywhere there is an organic grass-fed need, we can supply it for them. Then we’re also providing a lot of additional resources, whether it’s on the branding/marketing side or category management insight, to make the job easier. We want to be a one-stop shop to the retail customer.”