CLAREMONT, N.C. -- Prepared-foods processor WSMP here is ramping up a line of private-label, ready-to-heat meal components.
The single-serve, modified- atmosphere packaged entrees and side dishes will be produced under custom manufacturing agreements with retailers under their own label. WSMP has been supplying Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion with meal components since last fall.
"We've set up a totally separate division within the company to package these individual portion-sized dishes," said company President and Chief Operating Officer David R. Clark.
The line of products is currently being marketed to supermarket chains by representatives from WSMP's new division, Mom 'n' Pops Home Meal Replacement. The company is also negotiating with a national food company about supplying product, Clark said.
WSMP is currently marketing six protein-based entrees and six vegetable side dishes in modified-atmosphere packing, and selected desserts. The price point for one entree and two sides would be about $4, Clark said, with desserts adding about another dollar to the meal.
The supplier is also still working on about another 12 entrees and sides. The products are similar to those WSMP has been supplying Food Lion.
"We would love to increase the amount of products we are developing, but we like to think one of our points of differentiation is our flexibility and responsiveness," Clark said. "If a retailer is significant enough in terms of volume, we'll develop and package an item for them, assuming it means very strict standards in terms of bacteria counts and shelf life."
The protein-based meals include three varieties of chicken, meat loaf, beef patty and barbecued ribs.
The vegetables include mashed potatoes, green beans, peas and pearl onions, creamed corn and black-eyed peas.
The shelf-stable desserts that are being marketed along with the entrees and sides include three types of fruit cobblers and a fudge pecan brownie.