HOUSTON -- The Kroger division here has added a new line of branded fresh chicken to its poultry product mix.
The 21-item Butterball Fresh Chicken line, a product of the ConAgra Poultry Co., El Dorado, Ark., was made available last month to retailers in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Texas and parts of Florida, following a successful market test last fall, according to the company.
This is a first attempt by Butterball, whose name has long been synonymous with turkey, to break into the branded fresh chicken market.
Late last month, Kroger announced in a full-page newspaper ad that it is carrying the chicken, with a headline reading, "Available now in all Kroger Stores. New! Butterball Fresh Chicken. "Extra Tender & Juicy."
Gary Huddleston, manager of consumer affairs for the 94-store division, said the Butterball line will be carried in addition to the Country Pride brand poultry it now offers.
What's different about the Butterball product, he said, "is the packaging and the process of sealing the packaging. "The shelf life is a little bit longer and certainly the name recognition of Butterball will connote a quality product," said Huddleston.
Kroger plans to continue to feature Butterball in its advertising, in-store signs and possibly with coupons, said Huddleston.
To work it into the meat cases, adjustments were made throughout, but no product lines were completely eliminated, he said.
The line includes boneless products, bone-in parts, whole roasting broilers and seasoned breasts -- including mesquite and Italian flavors.