Success Stories
By Sam Gazdziak,
Senior Editor
Good products, good management, good employees and good operations are just a few of the qualities needed to be a company on The National Provisioner’s annual Top 125 list. There are plenty of other qualifications, of course, which makes getting on the list quite an accomplishment. An unsuccessful company just won’t cut it. Try combining the world’s best chicken with incompetent management or a factory that would make Upton Sinclair wince, and see if that company can generate the sales needed to appear on the list.
Not every company had its best year ever, of course. Some sales figures are down from the 2005 list. But there were many companies that increased sales from last year, and set into motion initiatives to ensure future growth as well. Here are three of this year’s success stories.
Quantum is cooking
Edward Bleka, CEO of Quantum Foods, says that he has wanted to get involved in impingement cooking for a few years. He finally got his chance when Quantum acquired Los Angeles-based Choice One Foods. Choice One had those cooking capabilities, and the results have been so good that Quantum is adding impingement ovens into its Bolingbrook, Ill., facility this year. “We’ll have the capacity to oven-cook more than 70 million pounds a year,” Bleka says. Quantum Culinary, a facility a couple of blocks away from the headquarters, will have similar capacity.
Having a West Coast-based location also is paying off in terms of fuel costs. “We deal with national restaurants, and everything west of the Mississippi could be coming out of that facility, and save [our customers] an enormous amount on freight,” Bleka notes.
Quantum also opened a global distribution center last year, which has 280,000 square feet of cooler/freezer capacity. Bleka says that Quantum will be working with its customers to consolidate their orders in nearby states, helping them to better utilize their transportation dollars.
The Choice One and cooking additions are just two ways Quantum Foods is growing. Bleka says his company has been entering into different markets, such as the fast-food sandwich market, and becoming more involved with proteins besides beef. The company already has mastered the concept of portion control for beef products like steaks. “We can do the same thing in poultry or pork,” he notes. “And for us to get into impingement cooking, we’re already 75 percent there, where a lot of people first have to understand portion control and marination. We’re experts at that.
“It was an easy step, and that’s where the industry’s going, as you can see with the boom with the sandwich shops,” Bleka adds.
The addition of pork and poultry products makes Quantum’s portfolio even more impressive. “We already have the relationships,” Bleka says. “It’s just that we have a better variety of products, and people are getting more and more into the finished cooked product.”
Making the right moves
The last few years have seen Strauss Veal & Lamb International making several noteworthy acquisitions. In 2004, the company acquired Foodtech, an importer of New Zealand and Australian lamb, beef and New Zealand Cervina venison. Last fall, it added Swissland Packing Co. of Ashkum, Ill. But the company also has walked away from several other opportunities in recent years. “It has to be the right fit for us, add value to us and be something that we think can benefit our customers and ourselves,” says Tim Strauss, president of the Franklin, Wis., processor.
In this case, Strauss Veal can offer its deep product line of domestic and imported veal, lamb and other proteins to Swissland’s customers. “We are producing their products in our facility, and we can be a low-cost leader as well as introduce some of their product lines to our customers,” Strauss says. Swissland has added a line of grain-fed veal products, and it also has access to Swissland’s growers, which are largely based on the East Coast. Until that point, Strauss’ growers were mostly in the Midwest.
The company also made upgrades to its facility’s refrigeration systems, including adding state-of-the-art equipment. “We want this plant to be a showcase,” Strauss explains. “We want to have the best food safety, and everything that goes with it.” The plant’s upgrades also benefit the company’s West Coast customers. By optimizing the temperatures within the plant, Strauss Veal can offer a longer shelf-life on its case-ready products.
Between the Swissland acquisition and the plant upgrade, Strauss Veal was able to produce record sales last year, and plans are in place to continue that trend. Strauss says that the company will continue to look to add on other companies or product lines when the fit is right. “We’re growing through acquisitions and also by being a better and bigger company. We’re growing within the veal and lamb industries.”
Efficiency experts
Hatfield Quality Meats, located in Hatfield, Pa., is one of the last survivors of what used to be a large group of mid-sized meat packers in the area. Faced with high labor, infrastructure and utility rates, the company looked inward to improve its operations and reduce costs.
“We had a real focus on what we called maximizing performance,” says Douglas Clemens, president. “We made a tremendous effort in increasing effectiveness in all phases of the operation. That was one of the keys for us this past year.”
One of the things Hatfield did was break the mentality of having employees always working in just one department. Instead, they moved employees to different areas, depending on the demand at the given time of year. While the workers did find themselves in areas where they were not accustomed to working, there was no slowdown in production.
“Also, we really focused on frontline supervisors taking a look at each aspect of their operation, focusing on overtime hours and downtime issues — identifying constraints within each part of their system,” Clemens notes. “We did a lot of quantifying of why we do things and what it cost us, which resulted in pretty big savings to us.”
As a result of the efficiency initiative, Clemens says there was an attitude change from the management group to the hourly employees. The results are readily evident, as Hatfield generated record net sales in this past fiscal year.
The company also broadened its market. Its pork products, which include fresh meat, ham, sausage, bacon, deli items and franks, have been very successful in its core market of Harrisburg, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia and southern New Jersey. That market has now expanded further into New England, reaching Boston and New York City as well.
Clemens says that Hatfield has the right people in place for the company to build on its success in this past year and continue its efficient ways. “It was a behavior change, it was setting expectations, and it was fostering an accountability culture, which really led to increased performance for us,” he states. NP
If your company was not listed in this year’s Top 125 report, and you would like to participate in next year’s report, please call Sam Gazdziak at (847) 405-4129, or e-mail him at sgazdziak@stagnito.com.

The National Provisioner



MARKET SEGMENT

BEEF
Seg. Rank Name of Company Revenue in
Segment (millions)
Total
Revenue
TOP125 Rank
1Tyson Foods Inc.$11,600$26,014 1
2Swift & Co.$7,469$9,7005
3National Beef$4,000$4,000T11
4Smithfield Foods Inc.$2,282$11,3544
5OSI Group LLC$1,400$4,000T11
6Sara Lee Corp.$1,276.2$4,25410
7BPI Technology Inc.$600$600T30
8Kenosha Beef International Ltd.$494.9$50536
9Lopez Foods Inc.$331.7$45541
10Harris Ranch Beef Co.$270$27057
11Quantum Foods Inc.$240$400T46
T12Aurora Packing$150$150T75
T12Caviness Beef Packing Co.$150$15075
14L&H Packing/Surlean Foods$127.5$25559
15Holten Meat Inc.$107$118.991
16Meyer Natural Angus LLC$100$100T98
17Lincoln Provision Inc.$99.8$105T96
18West Liberty Foods LLC$86.4$28856
19Loggins Meat Co. Inc.$85$100T98
20Zartic Inc.$66.5$19067
21John Soules Foods Inc.$55$11094
22Vincent Giordano Corp.$50$50T121
23Abbyland Foods Inc.$44$17671
24Murry’s Inc.$36$18070
25Chicago Meat Authority$35.3$75T112
26Cook County Cookers LLC$35$14083
27Cambridge Packing Co. Inc.$34.8$58120
28Kayem Foods Inc.$30$150T75
29Manda Packing Co.$19.2$48124
30Curtis Packing Co.$16.5$50T121
31Fresh Mark Inc.$14.5$48239
32Hatfield Quality Meats$10.3$516.234
33Peer Foods Group Inc.$5$100T98
Note: Market segment rankings include only those Top 125 companies that submitted segment sales information.

CHICKEN
Seg. Rank Name of Company Revenue in
Segment (millions)
Total
Revenue
TOP125 Rank
1Tyson Foods Inc.$8,295$26,014 1
2Perdue Inc.$3,026$3,40013
3Pilgrim’s Pride$2,867.1$5,7007
4Gold Kist Inc.$2,300$2,30016
5OSI Group LLC$2,200$4,000T11
6Sanderson Farms Inc.$905.41,00623
7Foster Poultry Farms$8961,40019
8Mountaire Farms Inc.$849$84925
9Fieldale Farms Corp.$600$600T30
10Townsends Inc.$359.5$41844
11Case Foods Inc.$318.5$318.551
12Cagle’s Inc.$245$24560
13Amick Farms Inc.$202$20265
14Cooper Farms$200$20066
15Sara Lee Corp.$170.2$4,25410
16Farmer’s Pride Inc.$158$15874
17Harrison Poultry Inc.$140.1$140.182
18Zartic Inc.$85.5$19067
19Quantum Foods Inc.$80$400T46
20Murry’s Inc.$72$18070
21MBA Poultry$60.6$60.6118
22John Soules Foods Inc.$55$11094
23Kayem Foods Inc.$45$150T75
24Fresh Mark Inc.$33.8$48239
25Maple Leaf Farms Inc.$32.2$16172
T26Loggins Meat Co. Inc.$10$100T98
T26Peer Foods Group Inc.$10$100T98
28Cambridge Packing Co. Inc.$8.7$58120
29West Liberty Foods LLC$5.8$28856
30Lincoln Provision Inc.$5.3$105T96
31Manda Packing Co.$4.8$48124
32Lopez Foods Inc.$1.4$45541
33Chicago Meat Authority$0.8$75T112
Note: Market segment rankings include only those Top 125 companies that submitted segment sales information.

PORK
Seg. Rank Name of Company Revenue in
Segment (millions)
Total
Revenue
TOP125 Rank
1Smithfield Foods Inc.$7,641$11,354 4
2Tyson Foods Inc.$3,200$26,0141
3Swift & Co.$2,231$9,7005
4Sara Lee Corp.$2,169.54,25410
5Seaboard Foods$1,024$1,02422
6Premium Standard Farms$927.6$927.624
7Hatfield Quality Meats$500.7$516.234
8Fresh Mark Inc.$433.8$48239
9OSI Group LLC$400$4,000T11
10Abbyland Foods Inc.$132$17671
11J.H. Routh Packing Co.$124$12489
12Lopez Foods Inc.$121.9$45541
T13Evans Food Group Ltd.$80$80111
T13Peer Foods Group Inc.$80$100T98
15Kayem Foods Inc.$75$150T75
16Leidy’s Inc.$70$70115
17West Liberty Foods LLC$63.4$28856
18Chicago Meat Authority$35.3$75T112
19Zartic Inc.$26.6$19067
20Cook County Cookers LLC$21$14083
21Quantum Foods Inc.$20$400T46
22Manda Packing Co.$19.2$48124
23Murry’s Inc.$18$18070
24Curtis Packing Co.$16.5$50T121
25Holten Meat Inc.$11.9$118.991
26Cambridge Packing Co. Inc.$5.8$58120
27Kenosha Beef International Ltd.$5.1$50536
28Loggins Meat Co. Inc.$5$100T98
Note: Market segment rankings include only those Top 125 companies that submitted segment sales information.
Turkey/Duck
Seg. Rank Name of Company Revenue in
Segment (millions)
Total
Revenue
TOP125 Rank
1Sara Lee Corp.$638.1$4,254 10
2Carolina Turkeys$516$51635
3Perdue Inc.$374$3,40013
4Foster Poultry Farms$2381,40019
5Maple Leaf Farms Inc.$128.8$16172
6West Liberty Foods LLC$123.8$28856
7Pilgrim’s Pride$108.3$5,7007
8Quantum Foods Inc.$20$400T46
9Hatfield Quality Meats$5.2$516.234
10Kenosha Beef International Ltd.$5.1$50536
11Peer Foods Group Inc.$5$100T98
12Manda Packing Co.$4.8$48124
13Zartic Inc.$3.8$19067
14Cambridge Packing Co. Inc.$2.9$58120
Note: Market segment rankings include only those Top 125 companies that submitted segment sales information.
Lamb/Veal
Seg. Rank Name of Company Revenue in
Segment (millions)
Total
Revenue
TOP125 Rank
1Marcho Farms$100$100 T98
2Catelli Brothers Inc.$95$96107
3Provimi Foods Inc.$31.5$45125
4Zartic Inc.$7.6$19067
5Chicago Meat Authority$3.8$75T112
6Cambridge Packing Co. Inc.$2.9$58120
Note: Market segment rankings include only those Top 125 companies that submitted segment sales information.

Prepared Foods
Seg. Rank Name of Company Revenue in
Segment (millions)
Total
Revenue
TOP125 Rank
1Tyson Foods Inc.$2,800$26,014 1
2Pilgrim’s Pride$2,080.5$5.77
3Advance Food Co.$446$44642
4Foster Poultry Farms$2661,40019
5Bridgford Foods Corp.$131$13184
6L&H Packing/Surlean Foods$127.5$25559
7Sanderson Farms Inc.$100.6$1,00623
8Cook County Cookers LLC$84$14083
9Townsends Inc.$58.5$41844
10Murry’s Inc.$54$18070
11Quantum Foods Inc.$40$400T46
12Curtis Packing Co.$16.5$50T121
13Provimi Foods Inc.$13.5$45125
14Cambridge Packing Co. Inc.$2.9$58120
15Catelli Brothers Inc.$1$96107
Note: Market segment rankings include only those Top 125 companies that submitted segment sales information.

PUBLICLY TRADED STOCKS FROM THE TOP125
Company (Symbol) Stock price as of May 1
Seaboard Foods (a division of Seaboard Corp.)(SEB) $1,652
Hormel Foods Corp.(HRL)$33.45
SYSCO Corp.(SYY)$29.84
Bob Evans Farms Inc.(BOBE)$28.84
Smithfield Foods Inc.(SFD)$26.86
Sanderson Farms(SAFM)$26.25
Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.(PPC)$25.87
ConAgra Foods Inc.(CAG)$22.72
Sara Lee Corp.(SLE)$17.71
Premium Standard Farms Inc.(PORK)$16.51
Tyson Foods Inc.(TSN)$14.71
Gold Kist Inc.(GKIS)$12.91
Cagle’s Inc.(CGLA)$7.80 (est)
Bridgford Foods Corp.(BRID)$6.35