Meat + Poultry - July 2010 - 6

Commentary
BY BRYAN SALVAGE, SENIOR EDITOR
bsalvage@sosland.com

Proceed with caution
Eating healthier is no longer a fad;
it's a strengthening trend on a very
fast track in the U.S. As a result, the
market is being flooded with food
products touting low fat, no fat, less
salt, reduced and low calories...and
the list goes on and on. Processors
devoted to creating healthier alternative products should be applauded. But companies considering entering this arena for the fi rst time
must be careful.

"A healthy alternative to a
leading branded product
should be considered
an added benefit, but
never a substitute for
great hedonics."
"Making foods healthier whenever possible is a good thing, but one
must always remember people want
whatever they eat to look good, taste
good, smell good and to have good
mouthfeel," Alan Turover, co-president of The Turover Straus Group,
Springfield, Mo. - one of America's
leading food innovation concepting
and prototyping firms - told me. "If it
doesn't taste great, people won't buy
it more than once."
Leading brands could jeopardize
their leadership status by making
healthier-alternative products that
don't meet consumer expectations.
"Leading brands got to be leading
brands because they learned to meet
or exceed consumer expectations,"
Turover continues. "Consumers
may 'talk' about wanting healthy
products, but they are not usually
willing to lose the sensory qualities
that made the food popular in the
fi rst place."
Processors must never forget
what made their product popular. "A
healthy alternative to a leading branded product should be considered an
added benefit, but never a substitute
for great hedonics," he said.

Lynn Dornblaser, new product
guru for Mintel International Group
in Chicago, relays a story from years
ago when a top executive from Oscar Mayer spoke at a new products
conference about Oscar's new Big
& Juicy line of extra-large hot dogs
(introduced in 1993). "Someone
asked him about the fat content because it was introduced at the height
of the low-fat, no-fat craze," she recalls. "His response was priceless.
He said: 'Big & Juicy hot dogs have
23 delicious grams of fat' and the
line was about exhibiting excellent
flavor and delivering an enjoyable
eating experience."
The biggest new product opportunity regarding further-processed
meat products is to reduce sodium
gradually over a period of time,
Dornblaser believes. But creating
healthier-alternative meat and poultry products isn't easy and processors could also benefit by providing
some consumer education on this
topic. How can the industry help
consumers understand you can't
just simply remove the sodium and
fat from a product because of benefits relating to shelf-life and taste,
for example? If consumers have a
better understanding of what the
issues are, they may have less anxiety about product choices, she says.
And healthier-alternative products
often cost more than traditional
products. Companies should be
able to explain why "less" may cost
consumers "more."
Yes, reducing sodium, fat, calories, trans-fat and saturated fat are
all major issues, but processors can't
make, nor should they strive to make,
their entire product line healthy.
As Dornblaser says: "There's
still a place for those 23 delicious
grams of fat." ■
We would like to hear from you - to comment
on this story or to request reprints, contact us
by e-mail at meatpoultry@sosland.com.

6 * Meat&Poultry * July 2010 * www.MeatPoultry.com

EDITORIAL STAFF
Editor

Joel Crews
Executive Editor

Keith Nunes
Senior Editor

Bryan Salvage
Managing Editor

Kimberlie Clyma
Contributing Editors

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Steve Bjerklie
Dr. Temple Grandin
Steve Krut
Bernard Shire

Larry Aylward
Dr. David Theno
Steve Kay
Leo Quigley
Dr. Glen Miller

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PUBLISHING STAFF
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L. Joshua Sosland
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Publisher Emeritus

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Address editorial correspondence to:
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Phone: (816) 756-1000 Fax: (816) 756-0494
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Requests for reprints of articles should be sent
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at (816) 756-1000.

Sosland Publishing Co.,
a division of Sosland Companies, Inc.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat + Poultry - July 2010

Contents
Meat + Poultry - July 2010 - 1
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Meat + Poultry - July 2010 - Contents
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