Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 38

PROCESSOR PROFILE

Eighty percent or more of
the retail product Thomas
Foods International, USA
processes is private label
but some product is still sold
under the company's label.

from the Australia-based parent company. The
company also purchases some lamb from New
Zealand and Chile.
" The lamb business gave us the entre here, "
Forrest said. " But, the rising popularity
of grass-fed and organic products really
allowed us to grow our beef division. "
The company's sales today
are 40% beef, 40% lamb and 20%
other proteins.
" We have filled the grass fed/
organic beef niche with our retail
and foodservice customers and
that's where we've
expanded the business
and where we perform
very strongly, " Forrest
added. " We see that
organic is not going
away and grass fed
continues to grow in
popularity, so we think
that is positive for
our business. "
Milk-fed veal is
imported from the Netherlands and pork is
usually domestically sourced from various
farms and suppliers in the United States.
Thomas Foods is also a Certified Angus
Beef (CAB) house, cutting and distributing
CAB products to retailers around the country.
" We are primarily a private-label producer -
80% or more of our production is private label, "
Forrest said.
Some of the private-label production
includes meats for top retailers in the
United States.

PANDEMIC ADJUSTMENTS
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had
an impact on all meat processors around the
country, and Thomas Foods is no exception.
While the company avoided major closures or
outbreaks, it still had to make adjustments to
its production facility.
" With a bit of good luck and a small amount
of agile management, we did avoid any major
disruptions from COVID, " Forrest said.
In addition to plant adjustments, the
company was forced to make a few changes to
its customer mix. Traditionally, Thomas Foods
is a 60/40 retail to foodservice operation.
" Due to the pandemic, we saw a drift away

38

MEAT+ POULTRY | 01.21 | www.meatpoultry.com

from traditional foodservice customers. But
thankfully we had a foot in each camp prior
to COVID, we were able to maximize our
relationships, " Forrest said.
In April, when stay-at-home orders were
prevalent around the country, the company
saw an uptick in its retail business. This
created a need to run production two shifts a
day for seven days a week for a short time.
Alongside stay-at-home orders were
temporary restaurant closures and the
inevitable reduction in the need for foodservice
products. However, the company was fortunate
to shift the business to new opportunities such
as direct-to-consumer.
" We've been fortunate to have longstanding relationships with our customers
before the pandemic hit; and, we've managed
to be nimble and ramp up production, " he
said. " So, we've gone from a traditional
foodservice customer, to more direct-toconsumer business. New opportunities have
offset the drop in our regular traditional
foodservice business. "
The plant managed to maintain operations
during the pandemic and continues to make
adjustments to the layout and procedures on
the production floor to ensure worker safety.
" If you go into our processing rooms, there
are protective screens spacing the workers and
everyone has full PPE, " Forrest said.
In addition, a thermal scanner takes
everyone's temperatures as they enter the
facility. Anything abnormal sounds an alarm
requiring the person to be checked further
before being able to work.
The company's investments in worker
safety precautions go together with its
continued investments in food safety
throughout the facility.
" We designed and built our processing
facility with food and worker safety in mind
- we get a lot of commentary around the
cleanliness and the design of our facility, "
Forrest said. " Thomas Foods has a strong
commitment to food safety, continuously
pushing our teams to improve the high
standards we have established.
" Our leadership team is committed to be
best in class in how we operate. And, Thomas
Foods has a goal to be recognized as best in
class for the products we produce and the
customers we service. "


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Meat+Poultry - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - January 2021

Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 2
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 3
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 4
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 5
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 6
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 7
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 8
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 15
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 19
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 21
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 23
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 25
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 37
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 38
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 40
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 41
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 42
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 43
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 55
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 57
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 60
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 63
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 64
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 65
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 66
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - vdg - 1
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - vdg - 2
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 67
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 68
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 69
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 70
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - 71
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Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - marel - 1
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - marel - 2
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - marel - 3
Meat+Poultry - January 2021 - marel - 4
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