Fitness First

Processors urge consumers to eat more chicken as part of a healthy lifestyle.
While convenience and versatility continue to characterize the chicken industry’s latest product offerings, processors also are rising to the challenge of providing consumers with nutritious meal solutions and important information about chicken’s role in a healthy-eating plan.
“As a country, we are exercising more and becoming more aware of what we eat. There is, in fact, a growing body of medical evidence in support of healthy eating's impact on wellness,” stresses Bo Pilgrim, chairman and founder of Pilgrim's Pride Corp., Pittsburg, TX. “In short, consumers want healthy foods but are unwilling to trade off convenience or taste to get it.”
Pilgrim's Pride this spring combined taste and convenience with wellness in a new product line called EatWellStayHealthy™ to simplify the process of finding and enjoying healthy poultry products.
“This product line also may well be establishing a higher standard for the poultry industry,” Pilgrim adds. “Other poultry companies carry the American Heart Association [AHA] seal of approval on their packages, but we have not seen any who claim the USDA-regulated word, ‘healthy,’ on its package. The nutritional requirements – specifically in the areas of fat, cholesterol, and sodium – for the USDA-regulated word ‘healthy’ exceed those used by the AHA, and this line of products has been formulated to reach this higher bar.”
Annual Broiler Forecasts
  2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Production (millions lb.)31,26632,24032,74934,06335,12836,275
Per capita consumption (retail lb.)76.6 80.5 81.6 84.3 86.5 88.2
Exports (millions lb.)5,5554,8074,9204,7684,9695,110
*Per capita meat consumption data are revised, incorporating a new population series from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis based on the 2000 Census.
Source: World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates and Supporting Materials
Published in Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/ldp/
All EatWellStayHealthy™ products prominently display the AHA’s mark of approval on their packages, including fresh, uncooked whole chicken breasts, specially trimmed to be 99 percent fat-free; fresh, uncooked split chicken breasts, specially trimmed to be 99 percent fat-free; fresh, uncooked breast tenderloins; frozen fully-cooked grilled chicken breast strips; frozen fully-cooked grilled chicken breast fillets; frozen fully-cooked Szechwan chicken breast tenderloins; frozen fully-cooked Italian-style grilled chicken breast fillets; and frozen fully-cooked key lime flavor chicken breast fillets.
New Foster Farms program
Livingston, CA-based Foster Farms, meanwhile, has initiated a “Get Fit with Foster Farms” program and Web site (www.getfitwithfosterfarms.com) to highlight low-fat recipes, nutrition information, “get fit” tips, and expert advice. Registered users will receive a free “Get Fit Kit” in the mail that contains recipe cards, coupons, and a Foster Farms calorie counter, while a registered dietician is on tap to answer health-related questions on topics ranging from the food pyramid to children's nutrition.
Targeting the youth sector, St. Cloud, MN-based Gold'n Plump Poultry this spring visited schools across Minnesota with its mascot Cooper ® as part of the “Raised to be Gold’n” School Tour, a fun and interactive pep-fest for health aimed at teaching kids K-6 how to lead healthy, active lives. The program was free to schools and featured original songs, music, dances, and activities – all designed to promote healthy eating, exercise, and community action. Among other tour features, participating schools received free products such as Gold'n Plump Lil' Chicks® healthy chicken nuggets and low-fat skim milk from Cass Clay®, which they could serve for lunch the day of the show.
“Obesity is a nationwide health issue of crises proportions … Eating habits and activity levels are determined early in life, and as a Minnesota-based food company, we think it's our responsibility to teach kids to make healthy choices that will benefit them throughout their lives,” explains Susan Worwa, school tour director for Gold'n Plump. “Chicken is a healthy, low-fat protein choice and an important part of a healthy diet.” NP