- INNOVATION: Has taken its Any'tizers line and run with it, adding new, trendy items, and suggesting multiple ways to use them.
- TYING INTO CONSUMER TRENDS: Takes a systematic approach to understanding consumers' needs, and then develops products to meet specific needs of target consumer segments.
- IN-STORE EXECUTION: With use of POS materials, floor graphics and shelf call-outs, the company gives customers a reason to buy their products and to find them easily in the store.
SINCE THE LAUNCH OF its Discovery Center R&D facility a couple of years ago, Tyson Poultry has accelerated its new product launches, burnished its brand in several ways and honed its partnerships with its retailer-customers.
Carolyn Rehbock, vice president, insights and innovation, and Bill Welsh, senior director, marketing, frozen, value-added, told SN the company works diligently to gain an understanding of its customers and their businesses. And, at the same time, it is constantly surveying consumers to determine the needs of different segments of the population.
For instance, even in the “Mom” segment there is diversity, the officials pointed out. Young moms with toddlers are looking for first finger foods, but they want healthy ones. That insight led to the development of Tyson all-natural chicken nuggets.
Then, moms with children who are a little older are dealing with picky eaters.
“We aim to provide each segment with a solution,” Rehbock said.
Tyson knows value comes in many forms.
“It's a lot more than price,” Welsh said. “Value is a bundle of benefits that fits that particular consumer's needs. Great quality and taste are part of it, but moms tell us a product is not a value if their kids won't eat it.”
Since nominators noted that Tyson's brand recognition is so strong that people “think Tyson when they think chicken,” the company, confident of its presence in the fresh meat case, has recently put most of its efforts on developing value-added items that are merchandised in the frozen case.
“Bringing meaningful new products to market is a key component to bringing in new customers,” Welsh said.
“Our Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Fillets product is a repositioning of an already popular product. We've listened closely to our customers and have leveraged information into opportunity.”
The company's most recent product introduction — Quesa Dippers, an addition to the Any'tizers line — plays to consumers' quest for interesting snacks. They're mini quesadillas filled with meat and cheese and packed with a pouch of dip included.
“We launched them Aug. 1, and they're off to a good start. The key to our success is our collaborative efforts with our customers,” Rehbock said.
Both officials called the company's Discovery Center key.
“The fact that we can bring [customers] in and show them what we're working on and get their ideas right there is important. They get insight into our business and that helps us help them grow their business,” Rehbock said.
COMPANY TO WATCH
FOSTER FARMS: Foster Farms, the family-owned Livingston, Calif.-based poultry producer, received high praise from online voters this year, with one citing the company's “outstanding collaboration, service and follow through on all areas of the business including category management, marketing and transportation efficiency.” Foster Farms has also found innovative ways to keep shoppers engaged with the brand. This year, the company sponsored the first-ever Foster Farms West Coast Chicken Cooking Contest, encouraging amateur and professional chefs in California, Oregon and Washington to submit original recipes inspired by local ingredients for the chance to win prizes up to $10,000.