With a new focus on reaching creative, flavor-seeking home cooks who already prepare, eat and love pork, the National Pork Board announced a new branding position celebrating pork's ability to offer a wide range of options in the kitchen. With PORK® now as the brand, the new campaign of: Pork® Be inspired shows pork's place in almost any menu, day part, cuisine and lifestyle, based on pork's unique combination of flavor and versatility as the source of kitchen inspiration.


The new, fully integrated campaign features an updated look and feel, along with a new consumer target: the more than 82 million Americans who already cook, eat and love pork. Moving from a functional to a more emotional positioning, the campaign voice is proud, energetic, approachable and unapologetically optimistic about the unique attributes of the world's most popular protein.

Evoking the taste of backyard barbeques, new and attainable flavor combinations or mid-week meals on the go, the bold product imagery celebrates one juicy, tender, flavorful pork meal after another.

"Our research shows that pork's top consumers are looking for more than basic education; they're looking for inspiration. With its great taste and versatility, pork is the ideal catalyst to inspire great meals," said Ceci Snyder, vice president of domestic marketing for the National Pork Board. "While our new target represents our biggest fans, we believe they have the potential and desire to enjoy pork more often - and to inspire others to do the same."

"We produce pork and are proud of it," said Dianne Bettin, chair of the Domestic Marketing Committee and a producer from Truman, Minn. "Pork Be inspired will celebrate the wide range of meals that pork offers, give new ideas to our new consumer target and influencers and move the needle on pork sales both at retail and foodservice."

The new campaign rolls out this March and April, and includes national advertising, public relations, social media, retail and foodservice marketing, as well as activation by state pork associations. Enthusiastic about this renewed approach, 2011 advertising media spending has more than doubled that of recent years. All elements will showcase inspiring new ways to enjoy pork more frequently, with a range of meal and menu options, Snyder said.

Digital advertising starts March 7 with paid search and web sites that reach the National Pork Board's new target, with creative directing to a new website URL, www.PorkBeInspired.com. Starting April 11, national television advertising includes both network and cable. Print advertising begins in April in food and lifestyle publications, using a unique three-page, consecutive right-hand pages to communicate pork's ability to inspire numerous meal ideas.

Source: National Pork Board



Nebraska judge denies attempt to dismiss suit by Muslim workers

 A Nebraska judge has denied a motion by the Swift Beef Company seeking to dismiss a complaint filed on behalf of dozens of Somali-American factory workers who were allegedly discriminated against at its plant in Grand Island, Neb., reports the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Swift argued that the employees' union should have been joined as a defendant, and because the union was left out of the lawsuit the entire complaint should be dismissed. The Judge ruled that the union is not a necessary party and thus the lawsuit can proceed.

The Chicago office of CAIR filed a discrimination lawsuit in federal court last November on behalf of 49 Muslims factory workers who were fired from the plant. The lawsuit intervenes in a class action filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in August 2010 on behalf of more than 200 Muslim factory workers at the plant.

CAIR reports that in 2008, Muslim workers at the plant began facing harassment, and in some cases termination, after requesting that their break schedules be adjusted to allow them to perform their daily prayers. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mandates that employers must accommodate the religious practices of employees unless it causes the employer undue hardship.

After a year-long investigation into the complaints, the EEOC determined "such accommodation would not have posed an undue hardship to [Swift]" and that the evidence further establishes that Swift's supervisors "subjected Somali Muslim Employees to unlawful harassment, disparate treatment, and discrimination in terms and conditions of employment based on their religion, national origin, race, and color."

The EEOC also confirmed that some employees were unlawfully terminated in retaliation for their requests for religious accommodation.

"These employees worked hard and did not ask for special treatment. All workers are granted short breaks. Supervisors at the Swift plant, however, did not like that breaks were used to perform Islamic prayers," said CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Director Christina Abraham. "Everyone deserves to be able to earn a living without sacrificing their beliefs to put food on the table."

Source: CAIR



Mexican trucking deal reached

President Barack Obama has announced that a deal has been reached in the longstanding dispute over cross-border trucking with Mexico. The announcement was made during a news conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

“After nearly 20 years, we finally have found a clear path to resolving the dispute over trucking between our two countries,” Obama said.

According to reports, both sides are still working out the details of the agreement and are expected to send the plan to Congress this spring.

Congress eliminated funding for a pilot cross-border trucking project in 2009, citing continued concerns about the safety of Mexican trucks. The Mexican government argued that the trucking program ban puts the United States in violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) cross-border trucking commitments and a NAFTA dispute-settlement panel agreed, allowing Mexico to retaliate by placing steep tariffs on U.S. goods, including pork.

Source: AMI



 AMI Foundation honors 10 facilities with Environmental Achievement Awards

The American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) announced the 10 meat and poultry plants being honored with Environmental Achievement Awards. These biennial awards are presented to member companies that go beyond environmental compliance by designing and successfully implementing an innovative plant upgrade, environmental program or outreach initiative.

The four categories and this year’s award winners are:

Advances in Environmental Technology

First Place:  Indiana Packers Corporation - Delphi, Ind.

Second Place: Keystone Foods, LLC - Equity Group Eufaula Division – Bakerhill, Ala.

Environmental Outreach to the Public

First Place: Smithfield Packing Co., Inc. - Smithfield, Va.

Second Place: Patrick Cudahy, Inc. - Cudahy, Wis.

Second Place: Premium Pet Health - Denver, Colo.

Pollution Prevention

First Place:  Smithfield Packing Co., Inc. - Smithfield, Va.

Second  Place:  JBS Green Bay, Inc. – Green Bay, Wis.

Second Place: JBS Greeley, Inc. – Greeley, Colo.

Resource Conservation

First Place:  Progressive Processing, Inc. – Dubuque, Iowa

Second Place:  John Morrell & Co. – Cincinnati, Ohio

“We congratulate these award winners on their important efforts to reduce our environmental footprints,” said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle. “These companies are role models for the rest of our industry and we will all benefit and learn from these great innovations.”

Award winners will be recognized on March 9, 2011, during AMIF’s 2011 Conference on Worker Safety, Human Resources and the Environment, at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center, Kansas City, Missouri. Two award winners — Indiana Packers Corporation and John Morrell & Co. — will also share their success stories during the conference.

For more information on the AMIF Conference on Worker Safety, Human Resources and the Environment go to www.meatami.com/ht/d/sp/i/10426/pid/10426. For more information on the environmental achievement awards program, go to www.meatami.com/ht/d/sp/i/11491/pid/11491.

Source: AMI



Sonic debuts four premium hot dogs

Sonic, the nation's largest chain of drive-in restaurants, is unveiling a line of four Premium Beef Hot Dogs.

"Sonic's new Premium Beef Hot Dogs have an amazing combination of fresh toppings that create a variety of flavor experiences," said Danielle Vona, chief marketing officer for Sonic. "Our Coney has been a favorite with customers for years and the new hot dogs are the perfect option for lunch, dinner or an afternoon snack." 

The new Premium Beef Hot Dogs are made with 100% pure beef and available in four flavor experiences:

* Chicago Dog: a grilled beef hot dog with pickle, relish, tomatoes, hot peppers, chopped onions, celery salt and mustard in a soft, warm poppy seed bun.

* New York Dog: a grilled beef hot dog with spicy mustard, grilled onions and crunchy sauerkraut in a soft, warm bakery bun.

* All-American Dog: a grilled beef hot dog with ketchup, mustard, relish and chopped onions on a soft, warm bakery bun.

* Chili Cheese Coney: a grilled beef hot dog with warm chili and melty shredded Cheddar cheese in a warm, toasted, specialty hot dog bun.

Source: Sonic, America's Drive-In