Pro Pork and Sioux-Preme Packing, Co., the industry’s preeminent firms that produce, pack and market Berkshire hogs, today announced a joint venture agreement to create a coordinated supply chain to market products under the new brand name Berkridge.
Troy Arends, Berkridge marketing director, noted the joint venture will initially target the U.S. hospitality industry, which is generating a strong demand for specialty pork products.
“Berkridge is the marketing division for both companies,” Arends said. “It’s a brand name we will build domestically. We’ve already started selling to a number of U.S. outlets and distributors as well as some hotels and restaurants with whom we already have relationships.”
Arends said the two companies have teamed on various projects for more than 15 years. The Concept Works, Inc., is providing marketing and public relations assistance for the Berkridge brand.
“Pro Pork has a very good handle on production, cost control and meat quality. Its people are extremely good at understanding which animals to select in order to build the best-quality Berkshires in the world,” Arends said. “With Sioux-Preme Packing, you have a company that has been processing and packing niche products for the Japanese market for more than a decade so its people are better than anyone else at processing meat to very exacting standards. That’s why we’re ahead of the game as we move strongly into the U.S. market.”
Arends compares Berkshire pork to the famed Wagyu beef, setting the standard for succulent cuts. Berkshire pork is red in color – not white – and has more marbling, which results in the increased tenderness.
“We believe people enjoy fantastic eating experiences and Berkshire pork delivers it time after time,” Arends said. “It’s not going to appeal to the masses, frankly, because of its cost. But chefs find that its higher quality is exactly what’s so enticing to their consumers and it’s definitely worth the price.”
Arends noted the Berkshire breed produces smaller litters, requires a longer feeding cycle and grosses a lower-yielding carcass.
“They are not efficient animals. That’s why the commodity market has left them alone and most farmers stopped raising them 30 years ago,” he explained. “When you’re working with an animal that is expensive to produce, we believe the best approach is to raise them on smaller family farms instead of at one big facility. And, that’s something we are really excited about. We’ll start with 18 farms operated by 16 families for our production model with expectations to grow exponentially over the next three to five years.”
As a result, Arends indicated the joint venture is expected to create approximately 55 new jobs in northwest Iowa in the next two to three years.
However, he added, “We’re prepared to grow to whatever level we feel customers need us to grow. We’re poised to do that and we’re set to lead in this niche market.”
# # # #
About Sioux-Preme Packing Co.
Unique in the meatpacking sector, Sioux-Preme Packing Company is one of the few small pork processors that has survived and prospered in the industry’s highly competitive, rapidly changing environment of the last three decades. Since 1969, Sioux-Preme has produced quality pork products to meet the needs of growing consumer demands. The company continues to be a technology leader to improve performance and production. The company’s Sioux Center facility processes 3,600 carcasses per day. Its Sioux City facility offers specialty boning services that customers can’t find from other processors.
About Pro Pork
Pro Pork is a swine management service, founded in 1986 by two progressive pork producers whose goal was to keep more of each management dollar by pooling efforts. The company’s focus has always been profitable production of the highest quality pork. Pro Pork provides professional swine managers, with objective, comprehensive services totally focused on customers’ bottom-line results. The company’s services include complete production management, personnel management, supervision and training; production and financial recordkeeping; nutrition and health management; facility planning and consultation; access to group marketing and buying opportunities; carcass quality and packer evaluation.