Tyson Foods reboot brands
Tyson Foods that in recent years has bet big on packaged foods, is rebooting some of its most established brands as U.S. consumers increasingly favor fresh ingredients. The meat giant is whipping up new recipes, so that it doesn’t miss out on healthy sales from the perimeter of grocery stores. That’s where supermarkets traditionally stock their freshest foods. In contrast, sales growth in foods packed in cans and boxes, which are usually found in the central aisles, has been slowing for years.
Tyson is reinventing brands such as Jimmy Dean and Ball Park, which are usually associated with processed or frozen meat, for example, by creating products with fresh scrambled eggs and beef patties. The company is also looking at expanding sales of its Tastemakers meal kits that were launched last year and which are sold on Amazon.com and at several hundred Texan grocery stores. Meanwhile, Amazon’s plan to buy Whole Foods Market threatens to alter how and where food is sold and delivered. Such factors may contribute to a further squeeze on margins for packaged-food suppliers, more so than those for fresh-meat producers.
Uncertainty about the future of the meal-kit industry also looms after Amazon filed for a trademark application for prepared food kits. Blue Apron Holdings Inc., a prominent player in the emerging meal-kit industry, has tumbled 33 percent since its initial public offering in New York four weeks ago. While the Tastemakers kits are a small piece of Tyson’s business, the growth is exciting. Tyson Foods has in recent months started selling them in some Texas stores operated by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Kroger Co. as Tyson also will continue working with Amazon to sell the meal kits.