Mark Vieth, president of Wenzel’s Farm, has been with the company for nearly two decades. Vieth said that 19 years ago, he applied to an ad in the paper and began working as an accountant for Russ Wenzel. Vieth said he now serves as president for Wenzel’s Farm and has done so since 2010, following the passing of Russ Wenzel.
Marshfield, Wisc.-based Wenzel's Farm still operates out of the original barn in which the brand originated since the company’s founding in 1949. Wenzel’s Farm aims to carry on the craft of sausage making brought from Germany to Wisconsin more than 100 years ago, with company positioning itself as a premium provider of handcrafted, small-batch meat snacks and products such as sausages, jerky bratwurst, and hot dogs.
Industry complications over the past few years have affected many individuals and companies, and though Wenzel’s Farm is no exception to that experience, the company did see a bit of a silver lining. Vieth said that because larger companies were also impacted by supply chain issues, that disruption combined with continued consumer demand gave Wenzel’s Farm an opportunity to reach a different area of consumers.
Vieth said that since the company was bought by an investment group in 2014, customers now get the best of both worlds.
“We've been able to compete … by delivering excellent service that a smaller company can deliver, but also have the financial backing to be able to support our retailers’ programs. And that makes us unique. But quality's still No. 1,” he said.
Wenzel’s Farm does not use fillers or binders. Vieth said that Wenzel’s Farm is known for its quality, and that has been the case since the company was created in 1949, as the Wenzel’s family philosophy is to use quality products.
The company also only uses clear casings, rather than colored casings, on snack sticks. Vieth said the company’s use of clear casings started back in 2017 due to consumer trends leaning more toward natural products. Though Vieth said it was considered a risky decision back then, the use of clear casings has paid off, and consumers have had a good response to the casings.
Looking at consumer trends, Vieth said consumers are presently drawn to spicy products.
“Things like habanero, jalapeno, traditional spicy, those kind of blends,” he said.
Vieth said smaller pack sizes are increasingly becoming more popular.
“When I first started we sold a lot of 3-pound packages, a lot of 1-pound packages, but now our most popular size is 2-ounce,” he said.
Looking ahead, Vieth said the company plans to increase efforts in marketing while maintaining its established retail partnerships.
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