Meat+Poultry - August 2018 - 43

relationships with leading retailers."
Van Eekeren said the acquisition supports
Land O'Frost's strategic growth plans and
offers an opportunity to capitalize on the
consumer trend to natural and organic meats.
With the addition of Wellshire Farms, Land
O'Frost's product portfolio now features a
robust offering of natural/organic brands for
breakfast meats, deli meats, hams, hot dogs,
snacking and specialty meats.
Van Eekeren said he reached out to Lou
Colameco, president and CEO of Wellshire
Farms, about becoming business partners and
Colameco was particularly interested in this
prospect because both companies shared that
they've always been family owned.
"Joining the Land O'Frost family represents
an important and strategic milestone for
Wellshire Farms," Colameco said just after the
deal was made. "The opportunity to combine
forces with another family-owned-andoperated company as strong as Land O'Frost
will provide us with the ability to further
grow our brands, expand our distribution
and provide new growth opportunities for
our employees. In addition, we believe the
combined company will also be able to reach
more retail outlets and customers that value
our high-quality products."
Founded in 1958, Land O'Frost has been a
consistent leading manufacturer of pre-sliced
meats, breakfast meats and specialty hot dogs
and sausages. Headquartered in Munster,
Indiana, the company is the largest familyowned brand of packaged deli meat in the US
with brands including Land O'Frost premium
sliced meats, DeliShaved and Bistro Favorites
100% Natural. It operates three manufacturing
facilities in Lansing, Illinois, Madisonville,
Kentucky, and Searcy, Arkansas.
Van Eekeren said benefits of family-owned/
family-run businesses include that they can
worry less about day-to-day operations and
quarterly performance.
"We worry more about how the business
can survive for generations to come," he said.
"Our decisions aren't based on short-term gains
and losses but instead on long-term strategy."
As for changes at Wellshire Farms following
the acquisition, Van Eekeren said there won't be.
"Wellshire Farms will operate as an
independent entity with Land O'Frost as its
support system," he said. "They continue to

have an incredible team that is learning about
our company and we're learning about them. We
will help grow their brands using our expertise."
One major benefit of being acquired
will be expanded distribution for Wellshire
Farms' brands.
"The Land O'Frost sales and supply
chain can take the Wellshire Farms products
to our current customer base of national
conventional retailers who have natural foods
sets in their stores."
Land O'Frost acquired sausage-maker
Wimmer's Meats, West Point, Nebraska, in
2012 and its brands: Wimmer's, Fairbury,
Ambassador and Basset.
As for additional acquisitions, Van Eekeren
says Land O'Frost plans to focus on solidifying
and growing its current businesses.

"We're bringing
together two
companies that
are not only
to producing
quality products
but also have
a rich and
heritage in the
meat industry."

Van Eekeren says the most common trend in
the deli meat business has been slow growth,
with many traditional brands struggling to
grow their category.
Cleaner-label products continue to grow in
popularity as consumers are more educated
than they've ever been about what's in the food
they buy, he said.
Land O'Frost recently relaunched its
Bistro Favorites 100% Natural product
line, transforming it to include all-natural
ingredients with natural seasonings and glazes.
As for private-label deli meat processing,
Van Eekeren says private labels are | 08.18 | MEAT+ POULTRY


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - August 2018