For natural and specialty food stores, as well as traditional supermarkets and foodservice operators, Hain Pure Protein Corp. (Hain PPC) has become a partner of choice. The company’s full range of premium all-natural, antibiotic-free and organic poultry products are well known as some of the top-quality protein on the market today.

“We are pioneers in this business and follow an EarthWise approach that gives our products and brands more appeal to customers looking for top-quality products,” COO and CFO Jay Lieberman says. Hain PPC is known for antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed poultry products that have been humanely raised.

Hain PPC’s brands include FreeBird chicken, Plainville Farms turkey and Epicurean Farms specialty poultry. Headquartered in New Oxford, Pa., it operates two major plants and a distribution center.

Plainville Farms turkeys and FreeBird chickens are certified by GAP (Global Animal Partnership), a nonprofit charitable organization of farmers, scientists, ranchers, retailers and animal advocates dedicated to improving the welfare of animals in agriculture. The company feels its participation strengthens its brands and their standing in the market.

Focus on Development

Hain PPC is committed to building strong internal operations and external partnerships. Internally, the company’s leadership team is focused on employee safety, product quality and customer service. Employee retention is boosted through incentives and benefits that keep the company moving in a unified direction.

The company’s salesforce has built close relationships with retail customers and distributors. “Our customers are looking for high-quality products that are better for consumers,” Lieberman says. “We talk to customers regularly and have an almost 100 percent fill rate.”

Building relationships extends to suppliers and vendors, as well. The company has strong ties to external partners, such as Devault Refrigeration, the provider and installer of Hain PPC’s refrigeration system.

Lieberman believes the key to success in a competitive environment lies in quality and product assortment. The company is more than just a premium holiday turkey and everyday chicken business. With Plainville Farms and FreeBird, Hain PPC has a variety of products that allow it to compete 52 weeks per year.

This is where Hain PPC benefits from investments in plant technology and equipment. About a third of Hain PPC’s turkey business is in ground turkey and turkey patties. The company invested about $2 million in its high-speed patty and ground production lines.

“We’ve also spent money on deboning and updated our evisceration line,” Lieberman says. “Our turkey plant is one of the most updated in the country.”

Options Galore

Hain PPC is always looking for ways to offer more to the market. Its turkey deli line of bulk and sliced product is sold under the Plainville Farms and private-label store brands. That business is growing at about 30 percent per year, Lieberman says. The company recently enhanced its foodservice and prepared foods offerings, which include turkey meatballs, meatloaf, marinated chickens and a variety of sous vide items.

“We offer innovation and variety,” Lieberman says. “From traditional flavors like lemon and garlic herb to on-trend flavors like peri peri, we have the speed to market that customers are now demanding.”

Hain PPC sees opportunity in the growing buzz among consumers looking for healthy eating options. Organic stores have been a big part of the company’s success, but more conventional retailers are looking to expand their all-natural, antibiotic-free product options.

“Our job is to get the message across about healthy eating,” Lieberman says. “Our variety helps consumers replace conventional purchases with all-natural antibiotic-free purchases and feel better about the choice they are making.”

The company gives consumers access to information about products through websites and social media. Websites help consumers meet the farmers growing the birds, providing traceability back to the farm. The recent launch of Plainville Farms’  Thanksgiving Central portal gives the consumer access to information on preparing and serving the perfect bird.

With social media, Hain PPC fosters discussion on recipes and opportunities for interaction with consumers. It also operates contests and seasonal events, such as a holiday turkey promotion.

“We use Twitter, Facebook and our websites to interact with consumers,” Lieberman says. “These sites have helped us grow our brands.”

There are certainly challenges facing Hain PPC in the years ahead. It must make sure product prices are reasonable and competitive. It has a long-term plan to ensure that resources like grains are procured early. It maintains strong banking relationships and cash management techniques, and it remains focused developing innovative products, supporting its sales team and delivering a strong marketing message.

“We are proactive and progressive, working closely with our customers,” Lieberman says. “Those relationships help us understand the consumer and provide the variety we offer.”