Perdue announced last week during the 2016 Annual Meat Conference in Nashville, Tenn., that it is moving NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER protein into mainstream grocery categories and foodservice menu items with the rapid transition of its entire frozen, refrigerated and fresh value-added chicken products and all of its foodservice turkey items to NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER (NAE).
The transition, taking place now, will make PERDUE the first major brand to convert all of its value-added chicken products to NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER, providing consumers with choices in every category: fresh, refrigerated and frozen. The conversion to NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER at retail includes all PERDUE brand heat-and-eat and pre-seasoned chicken items, such as retail nuggets, strips, and grilled strips. The company said this ensures that consumers do not have to forego the confidence that comes with NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER for the convenience they want, nor will they have to wait years. Products will hit shelves coast-to-coast this month, with the conversion continuing through May.
Perdue said the conversion to NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER for all foodservice turkey items means that more than 150 NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER menu items are now available to independent operators through foodservice distributors across the country. The foodservice turkey items join a complete line of NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER menu-ready chicken distributed under the PERDUE HARVESTLAND and other foodservice brands.
"In the retail sector, we're converting all branded refrigerated and frozen convenience products to NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER, bringing the total number of products with the claim to more than 200,” explained Eric Christianson, Perdue senior vice president of marketing and innovation. “In just a few months, we will take NAE mainstream, moving it beyond select fresh items and niche brands and making PERDUE NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER chicken products available everywhere consumers shop for chicken in the grocery store.”
He said the combination of converting everyday, go-to PERDUE products to NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER, along with NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER foodservice offerings, represents a significant transformation in the market. “We're raising the bar on the choices consumers can expect right now," he added.
The announcement follows the company's continued efforts in minimizing antibiotic use: two-thirds of the company's chickens are now raised without any antibiotics of any kind, up from 50% six months ago. And, Perdue said that although raising turkey without antibiotics is more difficult than chicken, it has still converted more than half of its turkey raising to NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER, a major shift in turkey production practices.
"The NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER distinction is very important to us," said Perdue chairman Jim Perdue. "That claim is transparent and absolutely clear to consumers: no antibiotics of any kind, at any time. Consumers have a number of concerns around antibiotic use, and they deserve products that address all those concerns with a promise they can trust. That's why we back up the NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER claim on PERDUE consumer chicken products with a USDA Process Verified Program.”