For the last couple of years, the meat industry has had to deal with a slumping economy that saw more people eating at home more often or trading down in their protein purchases. Now, consumers are starting to spend more and eat out more... and the industry now has to deal with tight supplies, sky-high grain prices and rising fuel costs.

In spite of the continuing challenges, the top meat and poultry processors continue to find ways to grow their businesses and strengthen their market shares. The companies in this year’s Top 100 report have:

-- made acquisitions (Hormel acq. Don Miguel Foods, AFA Foods acq. United Food Group);

-- improved their facilities (Godshall’s Quality Meats doubled its packaging department size and added a room for injecting and tumbling) or built new ones (Sanderson Farms’ new Kinston, N.C. Complex began processing chickens in January)

-- expanded their presence (Halperns’ Steak and Seafood Co. launched operations in the Northeast United States) and

-- introduced new products (Foster Farms’ Great Bites mini chicken cheeseburgers.

New challenges may be thrown continuously at the meat industry, but as the companies in this year’s Top 100 report have shown, the industry is nothing if not adaptable.

For more Top 100 company highlights, visit For information about appearing in next year’s Top 100 report, contact Sam Gazdziak at