Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 27

Photos: Giovanna Torrieri

C

onsidering the history of Jay Jandrain's
family in meat processing, and his
lifelong exposure to food production, it
is not surprising that today, he leads one of the
most iconic companies in the meat and poultry
industry, Mount Olive, NC-based Butterball LLC.
He's been chief executive officer and
president of Butterball for almost two-and-ahalf years - since December 2018 - but he's
worked for the company for 19 years. As
leader of the world's largest turkey processor
and producer, Jandrain is committed to
transforming the company and the turkey
industry away from an over-reliance on selling
only whole birds for Thanksgiving and maybe
Christmas - and marketing turkey in various
forms as a year-round protein product.
But when Jandrain graduated from Cornell
University, in Ithaca, NY, with a degree in food
science, he wasn't sure at all that he wanted to
work in the meat and poultry industry.
" I was born in Green Bay, Wis., and my
father, my grandfather and great-grandfather
all worked in the meat industry, " he said. " My
grandfather worked in a meat market in New
Franklin, Wis. "
His grandfather helped make sausage and
hot dogs for two iconic organizations in Green
Bay - the Green Bay Packers and Lambeau
Field, where the hot dogs and sausages were
sold. But the meat market went out of business
in 1968.
" I was a baby, only a few years old at the
time, when we moved to Waco, Texas, where
I was raised. And since my dad worked in a
meat plant there, I began working at a meat
processing company when I was 15 years old,
while I was in high school. The company was
called Plantation Foods, which eventually
was acquired by Cargill. But there I was, every
summer during my high school and college
years. Then I worked there full time after I
graduated from college. "
But Jandrain was smart enough to mix two
majors together very well in college - food
and business.
" To tell the truth, I wasn't particularly
interested in going into the meat business, "
he said. " I got different offers from companies
in different industries. I was out of the meat
industry for a short time - I worked in a fuel
distribution business, which was operated by
my wife's family. "

But he ultimately made the decision to
move back into the meat and poultry sector.
He worked in several sales, marketing and
R&D management roles at Plantation Foods
and later at Cargill. From there he moved to
Carolina Turkey.

MEAT INDUSTRY COMMITMENT
" At the time, Carolina Turkey was looking for
an R&D person, " Jandrain said. " R&D was a
good place to start a career, a good opportunity
to get involved in technical sales and sales
work in general. You learn and see where and
how the products are made. "
In 2002, he joined Carolina Turkey as
director of research and development.
Eventually, the company became Butterball
LLC when Butterball was acquired from
ConAgra in 2006. Since then, he's held
numerous roles with the company, including
vice president of deli sales, vice president of
research and development, vice president of
integrated business strategy, and executive
vice president of sales.
Before becoming Butterball's CEO and
president, succeeding Kerry Doughty who
stepped down for health reasons, he served as
chief operating officer for the company. In that
role his responsibilities included overseeing
plant operations; corporate purchasing;
transportation and warehousing; supply and
demand planning; corporate engineering; and
research and development.
It's not that common in the meat industry
for people to stay with one company for most
of their career, learning every facet of the
business, including the culture of a company's
operation. And that's exactly what Jandrain
has done.
" I've been in the poultry and meat industry
for 32 years, including 19 at Butterball. But this
pattern of remaining with a single business,
especially in this industry isn't as prevalent
as it once was, " he pointed out. " The reason
for that is there's more consolidation in this
industry than there used to be. Companies
today get acquired more frequently by
other businesses.
" We had been a foodservice business. Now
there was an opportunity to become heavily
involved in retail. Also, our biggest advantage
is the role of our brand - the best-known
turkey brand in the world. "

" A core value
for me that I
apply to this
company is
continuous
improvement -
we can always
be better. "
- JAY JANDRAIN

www.meatpoultry.com | 04.21 | MEAT+ POULTRY

27


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Meat+Poultry - April 2021

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

Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - vdg - 1
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - vdg - 2
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 2
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 3
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 4
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 5
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 6
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 7
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 8
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 9
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 10
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 11
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Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 14
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Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 16
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 17
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 18
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 19
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 20
Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 21
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