Next month, specialty grocer Fresh Thyme Farmers Market plans to begin carrying Farm Promise No-Antibiotics-Ever (NAE) pork products from Clemens Food Group.
Hatfield, Pa.-based Clemens said Tuesday that, under the distribution deal, Farm Promise NAE bacon, sausage, ground pork, and traditional fresh pork tenderloins and chops are slated to be available at all 74 Fresh Thyme stores during the week of July 6. The new products will replace conventional pork offerings at the Downers Grove, Ill.-based retailer, which focuses on value-priced fresh, natural and organic foods.
“We always put our shoppers’ best interests first and are looking to find those strategic supplier partners who align with our brand promise,” Jason Resner, vice president of meat and seafood at Fresh Thyme, said in a statement. “The Farm Promise pork offering really stood out because it addresses several of the benefits consumers are looking for today in pork proteins: source-verified, gestation crate-free, hormone- and antibiotic-free, and vegetarian-fed. Their brand’s No-Antibiotics-Ever claim is also validated through the USDA Process Verified Shield, which is recognized and appreciated by consumers.”
Fresh Thyme marks the first large-scale retailer to commit to Farm Promise NAE pork in all of its stores, which are located in 11 Midwestern states, according to Clemens.
The company said that as consumers become more concerned about where their food comes from, they are seeking more transparency and removal of antibiotics from products.
Indeed, new research today from FMI-The Food Industry Association found that over eight in 10 U.S. shoppers see product transparency as important or extremely important. Forty-eight percent of respondents said product certifications indicate that a brand or manufacturer is being transparent. Similarly, 39% want information about how a product is produced; 35% seek values-based information such as animal welfare, fair trade and labor practices; and 29% want fact about sustainability practices.
The new product line also comes to Fresh Thyme amid reports of ongoing supply disruptions in the meat industry, including pork, due to COVID-19. For example, the National Pork Producers Council recently told CNET that idle pork packing plant capacity has shrunk to around 12% after hitting 40% at one point, but a backup of millions of hogs remains because of coronavirus-related labor shortages and safety guidance that have slowed processing.
Clemens said Farm Promise NAE provides a solution to retailers looking to offer an all-natural, antibiotics-free alternative to conventional pork and raise their transparency with consumers.
“Fresh Thyme’s mission aligns perfectly with ours. And as we continue to grow the Farm Promise name, we look for top-quality retailers with a sizable market footprint,” commented Sandra Sage, vice president of market solutions at Clemens Food Group. “Fresh Thyme’s rapid expansion naturally puts us in the perfect position to capitalize on the ‘accountable food’ market.”