The Power of Clean-Label Proteins

As definitions of healthy eating continue to shift and evolve, it’s critical to be aware of the claims that will resonate with your customers and make a positive impact on your bottom line. It’s not just about calorie counts or sodium levels anymore—“healthy halo” claims are here to stay. Especially when it comes to meat and poultry, attributes such as humanely raised and grass-fed can make a significant impact on dining decisions. In fact, 76% of operators say that antibiotic-free and hormone-free items have a positive impact on traffic and sales.*

Of course, finding the ideal balance between what tastes good and what’s good for you can be a challenge. Luckily, consumers are noticing a positive shift in quality and flavor when choosing healthy items from their favorite restaurants. It’s an improvement they’re willing to pay for, too.

Take antibiotic-free (ABF) chicken, for example. It’s showing tremendous growth in foodservice, found most frequently in fast casual chains. Research from Technomic even shows that ABF foods are perceived as being healthier and more delicious in the eyes of consumers. And ABF chicken can be easily incorporated onto your menu or in your retail offerings. Show your customers that you recognize their interest in clean label offerings by offering ABF chicken on sandwiches, salads and pizza.

Bringing the trends to life.

Clean label protein is a category that we have been exploring for quite some time. I’m proud to say that our ABF sliced lunchmeat program paved the way for innovation in the private label retail category. Take Crystal Lake Farms, our pasture-raised ABF chicken brand. The chickens are humanely raised and fed a vegetarian diet, and we offer products that are Non GMO Project Verified. Our commitment to quality truly shows not only in the quality of our products, but through the animal welfare organizations, industry partners and farms we work with.

We also offer a variety of grass-fed, organic and other specialty products for both foodservice and retail customers. Here’s a taste of what we can create:

  • Gluten-free breaded chicken, using pulse flours (i.e. beans and lentils) instead of wheat breadcrumbs
  • Italian-style meatballs, made with turkey thigh meat and a yellow pea crumb for binding
  • Grass-fed beef steaks and patties
  • Organic sliced turkey
  • Spatchcock or brick chicken featuring Crystal Lake Farms chicken

We understand the growing demand for cleaner label products, and we strive to achieve exceptional flavor and quality as we develop products grounded in consumer trend and purchase intent research. Let’s work together to identify your menu or portfolio gaps and create healthy protein solutions that fit your brand. Contact me to learn more about this exciting area of opportunity!

– Chef Aliza

*Technomic, The Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report, 2016.
**Datassential, “Antibiotic Free Chicken: the SNAP™ food profile,” September 11, 2017.