Pactiv’s ActiveTechR3 is the case-ready fresh meat solution for Hormel Foods Corp.
Great things happen when leading processors and technology providers partner to provide winning solutions for retailers. For example, Austin, MN-based Hormel Foods Corp.’s widely accepted, Hormel-branded, consumer-ready fresh pork and beef products owe their long distribution life and outstanding appearance to Pactiv Corporation’s Active TechR3 (ATR3) technology, now in use at more than 1,100 outlets. Hormel Foods, an Active Tech user since 1998, adopted ATR3 in 2002. “We initially tested ActiveTechR3 because we needed a low-oxygen, foam-tray package that offered extended shelf life and would work for all our fresh meat including beef,” explains Gary Ray, executive vice president of refrigerated foods for Hormel Foods. “Our consumer research indicated it was essential that our products have a ‘back-room’ look,” he adds. “We now use the [ATR3] system exclusively for all Hormel-branded, consumer-ready pork and beef, including bone-in and boneless pork and beef, ground pork, and pork sausage.”
In addition to using standard foam trays and meat films, ATR3 incorporates a modified atmosphere process that ensures exceptional meat color with bright fat contrast for all meat species, all cuts, all grinds all the time. Gary DelDuca, ActiveTechR3 technology manager, notes that ATR3’s patented low-oxygen technology eliminates common oxidation problems retailers face in high-oxygen case-ready technologies, such as dark bones, gray fat, or premature browning during the cooking process. Marty Watson, national sales manager for ActiveTech, continues: “This single-package format saves the retailer time and money at every step, reducing costly labor, minimizing training, ensuring food safety, and virtually eliminating shrink or out-of-stock situations.”
Integrating on-demand convenience for consumers with existing supply chains
Today’s retail consumer has many choices and expects fresh-meat availability 24/7 – choice and availability that ATR3 enables. However, faced with cost and safety pressures, the retailer and packer must carefully mesh distribution life with their current channels. ActiveTechR3 30-day distribution life for whole cuts and 21-day distribution for grinds is ideal for the retailer, matching that of boxed beef. “It also,” notes Watson, “offers advantages to Hormel Foods. With ActiveTechR3, Hormel Foods becomes a true production operation, where product runs get inventoried and sold just like boxed beef or loins — unlike many fresh meat, case-ready packers that operate like a large-scale butcher shop, which has to wait for orders and then rapidly run and ship them.”
Since working with Pactiv, Hormel Foods has supplemented its Always Tender pork line with a full complement of Always Tender beef. More recently Hormel Foods launched a line of sliced and packaged deli meats, featuring the Pactiv Slide Rite Closure system for maximum freshness protection. Thus, the results of this partnership continue to benefit retailers and consumers alike.
Check out the November 2019 issue of The National Provisioner, featuring our cover story on FoodMaven's mission to minimize food waste in the supply chain, the 2020 Consumer Trends Report, and much more.