LIVE OAK, Fla., June 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In a move aimed at appealing to Florida customers who prefer locally grown products, Pilgrim's Pride Corporation (NYSE: PPC), in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is introducing "Fresh from Florida" chicken at several leading retailers in the Sunshine State.
All "Fresh from Florida" chicken is raised by local Florida farmers and processed at the Pilgrim's Pride facility in Live Oak, FL. This partnership allows Florida consumers the opportunity to "buy local." Purchasing chicken raised and processed in Florida ensures a sustainable processing model, reducing the distance that fresh food items travel from farm to table, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
The new case-ready chicken products are packaged with the "Fresh from Florida" logo. The brightly colored logo helps Florida consumers easily identify products grown or raised in the state.
"Florida consumers can be confident that the chicken they purchase is not only the quality of poultry they've come to expect from Pilgrim's Pride, but is also sourced and processed locally, ensuring the freshest product," said Jerry Wilson, Pilgrim's Pride executive vice president of sales and marketing. He expects total volume for the "Fresh from Florida" product to be more than 60 million pounds in the first year.
The "Fresh from Florida" collaboration between Pilgrim's Pride and the Florida Department of Agriculture also brings job creation and local economic investment to Florida. Pilgrim's Pride hired 250 employees to add a second shift in Live Oak so it could meet anticipated demand for the "Fresh from Florida" chicken. In line with the "Fresh from Florida" launch, the company has made commitments to the state of Florida on future staffing levels and capital investment in Suwannee County. State incentives to support this job-creation opportunity total $500,000. Under terms of the agreement, the company will maintain at least 1,175 jobs at the Live Oak complex for a five-year term beginning December 31, 2011. Pilgrim's Pride also agreed to create at least 35 net new jobs and invest $1.5 million in the facility by the end of 2011.
"We expect our Live Oak facility to play an integral role in serving the needs of Pilgrim's Pride customers, and we appreciate the support of the state of Florida in working to ensure a productive future," said Don Jackson, president and chief executive officer.
"Every day we work with local businesses and communities to advance economic development, so we're pleased with the opportunities that Pilgrim's Pride will bring to Suwannee County in terms of job growth and retention," said Enterprise Florida President & CEO John Adams Jr. "Pilgrim's Pride is a major economic engine in this region, therefore, building on its capabilities through 'Fresh from Florida' will strengthen the state's economy as well."
"Fresh from Florida" is a promotional membership program designed to boost the image of Florida agriculture and increase sales by helping consumers easily recognize products grown or raised in the state. The "Fresh from Florida" logo is currently found on produce and juices in seven major Florida retailers, including Publix, Albertson's and Winn Dixie. Since 2000, products carrying the logo have rung up more than $850 million in cash receipts for Florida farmers.
"We're pleased to help promote chicken that is grown and processed right here in Florida," Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson said. "Consumers receive the freshest product available, increased employment helps our state's economy, and growing food closer to home is better for the environment. It's a winning situation all around."
There is growing evidence that consumers want and prefer locally grown items. In a survey by the Dallas Marketing Group, five out of six Florida consumers said that fresh grown in Florida is important to them. Eight out of 10 said they would buy Florida fresh grown chicken, assuming it was the same price as the chicken they normally buy.
For more information about the "Fresh from Florida" line, please visit http://www.florida-agriculture.com/.
About Pilgrim's Pride
Pilgrim's Pride Corporation employs approximately 41,000 people and operates chicken processing plants and prepared-foods facilities in 12 states, Puerto Rico and Mexico. The Company's primary distribution is through retailers and foodservice distributors. For more information, please visit http://www.pilgrimspride.com.
VP, Corporate Communications & Investor Relations
SOURCE Pilgrim's Pride Corporation